Animal Writes
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From 27 October 2002 Issue

Halloween Safety Tips From HSUS

The Humane Society Of The United States Offers Tips To Keep Pets Safe From Halloween Tricks And Treats.

WASHINGTON (October 7, 2002) – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) wants to remind people with companion animals that Halloween can be a really frightening holiday for pets. While adults and children alike enjoy the costumes and candy, these things can actually distress or endanger a companion animal.

Nancy Peterson, HSUS companion animals issues specialist, cautions, “Dogs and cats rely on daily routine. When that routine is disrupted by lots of noise and commotion, like trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell or lots of strangers in unusual clothes in their house, pets can become frightened or agitated. It’s best to keep pets at a safe distance from the festivities.”

To help people keep their pets safe at Halloween, The HSUS recommends taking these precautions:

•    Keep pets safely inside, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. This will ensure that pets won’t become frightened or feel threatened at the sight of noisy costumed children. Cats, especially black ones, may be the target of pranksters. In addition, frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape, which can go unnoticed during all of the commotion. Be sure all pets are wearing collars with ID tags in case of accidental escape.

•    Keep candy out of your pet’s reach. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate is toxic to cats, dogs, and ferrets.

•    Keep pets away from decorations. Flames in jack-o-lanterns and candles can quickly singe, burn or set fire to a pet’s fur. Pets can become tangled in hanging decorations like streamers and can choke on some decorations if they chew on them.

•    Resist the urge to put your furry friend in costume. Most pets dislike the confinement of costumes and masks, and flowing capes can cause injuries if pets get caught on something.

•    Don’t bring the family dog along for trick-or-treating. Dogs may become difficult to handle during the noise and confusion of the festivities. A lost dog or dog bite will quickly end your Halloween fun.

The HSUS also cautions animal shelters not to adopt out black cats during the Halloween season. Unfortunately, during Halloween black cats are the targets of pranks, mischief, or worse—that can put cats at a high risk of being harmed. People with black cats should be extra careful about keeping their cats safe during this time.

“Keep your pet safe in an enclosed area with a toy and soothing music,” adds Peterson. “Resist the urge to include your pet in your Halloween activities, and everyone can enjoy the holiday.”

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, with more than seven million members and constituents. The HSUS is dedicated to protecting all animals through legislation, education, investigation, litigation, advocacy, and fieldwork. The HSUS has programs protecting wildlife, companion animals, farm animals and animals in research. The HSUS is headquartered in Washington, DC and has ten regional offices.

Visit The HSUS on the Web at

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