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Halloween Is For Kids, Not Pets

Updated on January 1, 2017
Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob has been in the pet supply business and writing about pets, livestock, and wildlife in a career that spans three decades.


I’ll be the grinch who steals Halloween. Have fun this Halloween; enjoy the parties, decorating, trick or treating or whatever, but consider leaving your pets out of it…for their own health and safety. Putting your dog or cat in costume for a quick photo op should be the extent of it.


While we think Boomer in a tutu is just the most adorable thing, most pets don’t like being dressed up. Clothing is uncomfortable, confining, affects their tactile abilities, feels alien, smells funny, and is a departure from their routines.

Things like tight elastics can cause limbs to “fall asleep” affecting mobility and scaring the bejeebers out of an animal that has never experienced this sensation.

A costumed pet could end up close and personal with a Jack-O-Lantern, becoming a crispy critter as he flees in terror and fans the flames. Or, a frightened pet could become an escapee and end up entangled in brush and shrubbery, or entrapped by fences, sheds and vehicles they try to hide under.

A costumed pet left alone for a few minutes could chew and swallow parts of the costume causing a GI blockage or cuts, abrasions or punctures anywhere along the digestive tract.

If you must dress your pet up for the occasion, try it on him beforehand. If he seems distressed, seems to be having an allergic reaction, or shows any uncharacteristic behavior, let him wear just his birthday suit, or maybe a festive bandana.


There's A Lot To Consider

Whether complete strangers or folks the pet knows, the sight of people in costume can be frightening to pets. It's not fair to the pets to subject them to such frightening experiences.

What's more, their response is unpredictable. If they respond aggressively, everyone in the immediate vicinity is in danger.

Fear biting can be extremely violent, and small children make for an easy target.

The constant ringing of the doorbell, the loud sounds made by excited children, the music or ghoulish sounds that are part of their costume, can all be stressful to pets.

While the response may be one of cowering, and not aggression, you could still wind up dealing with messy intestinal and bladder episodes, too.

Pets that are crated could injure themselves trying to escape that which torments them.


Oh, The Candy And Other Treats!

We all know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. As a refresher, a 50 lb. dog would have to ingest about 50 ounces of milk chocolate, but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate to consume a toxic dose. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

Sugar free treats, including candy, baked goods, gum and mints sometimes contain the artificial sweetener xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs and possibly other species. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar and liver failure.

Some treats, such as lollipops and novelties, have sticks and other non-food parts, as well as cellophane or foil wrappers which can be ingested, again raising the possibility of GI abrasions, lacerations, punctures, or blockages.

No article about Halloween dangers would be complete without the warning to make sure your pets are indoors and isolated for the festivities.

Being outside could subject them to cruel treatment by those who would do them harm.

Black cats are believed to be especially vulnerable.

Many shelters won’t even allow them to be adopted during Halloween week.

The fear is that some cults will sacrifice them during rituals.

Actually, Halloween isn't the only time cult rituals are performed. They're happening all year long.

The best place for your pet on Halloween is in the house, isolated from all the excitement.

But don’t take my word for it. Just Google “Halloween dangers to pets” and you’ll get about 2.78 million results about 0.38 seconds.

You'll be hard pressed to find one that disagrees.


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    • KathyH profile image


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Awww, each kitty is different I guess! Ours rub our legs and purr when we come home, after running as fast as they can to the door! Amazing how different cats can be, just like people I guess! :)

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      6 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Every day for 16 years my cat would greet me at the door, but would bite me if I tried petting her before she reconciled my scent. I'd have to let her sniff my hand first! What a box of rocks.

    • KathyH profile image


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      The symbolism is appropriate because cats truly are gifts, are they not?

      They sure are! :) I loved the pictures we took that year, they looked so peaceful laying under the tree. And peace is a huge message of Christmas. :)

      Our kitties are "wusses" too, they never bolt for the door. They DO greet us when we come home, though. There is nothing in the world like an a kitty greeting of pure affection. :)

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      6 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hello Author Cheryl, I think this is the first time we've met. Thanks for stopping by; glad to make your acquaintance.

      I agree with you 100%. Our kids and our pets sometimes fall victim to our vanity. It's like the Dad who pushes his son to excel in some sport because he never made it himself.

      The motive can be argued either way. It can seem selfish or it can be seen as an attempt to give our kids something good by supporting them in a way we were never supported. Sometimes it's tough being human!

      I salute your position of protecting the dignity and safety of your pets. Thanks, again, for stopping by and commenting. Please don't be a stranger. Regards, Bob

    • Author Cheryl profile image

      Cheryl A Whitsett 

      6 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

      I agree no animal should endure being dressed up because the owner thinks its funny. I have a black cat and she will be well hid from any trick or treaters in my neighborhood. I dont believe in flaunting animals for our own wants and needs. It's sort of like flaunting children in pagentry because its the mothers desire to win.

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      6 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hi Kathy, thanks for dropping in. My cat hated her collar, also. She was an indoor cat and usually didn't wear one. I never had to worry about her making a mad dash for the door...she was afraid of rustling leaves and butterflies. She was the ultimate wuss.

      But, I'd take her into the classroom with me when I did my program on pets to elementary school students. She wore a collar then. It wasn't her most fun activity and I wouldn't have been surprised had she bolted, plus a collar and tags is part of responsible pet ownership, which was the goal of my program.

      For my money, a picture of my cat sleeping under the tree is much better than a picture wearing human apparel. The symbolism is appropriate because cats truly are gifts, are they not?

      Thanks for commenting and voting. Both are always greatly appreciated. Regards, Bob

    • KathyH profile image


      6 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Both of our cats HATE to have anything put on them, that includes collars, and I did try to put collars on them as kittens! I just figured they are fine without 'em. ONE time I tried to put a cute little "Giraffe" head on our cat, Misty, (to make her look like a giraffe) and I got a couple of pictures, but that was IT! She wanted that thing OFF her head!

      I think you're right, we think they are so cute, but they sure don't like it! I wanted to try putting something on them (like a cute little hat) one year to take Christmas pictures, ended up just taking pictures of them sleeping underneath the tree! :) Voted up and more! :)

    • Bob Bamberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Bob Bamberg 

      6 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Hi alexadry, thanks for stopping by. A friend of mine dressed as a witch, including a mask, and her dog snarled, bared his teeth and bristled when he saw her. She quickly took off the mask and he relaxed, but did it again when she put the mask back on. They don't quite get the concept and that can be dangerous. Thanks for stopping by, voting and commenting. Regards, Bob

      Thanks, wetnosedogs. It's good that your pets aren't involved with Halloween, but it may still be a dangerous time, depending on the area you live in.

      When I was a kid, we had punks in our neighborhood who committed cruel acts on animals, of course, that was over 50 years ago.

      In my area, it doesn't seem to be a problem, but there are reports from other parts of the country that make you sad. Thanks for dropping in and commenting. Regards, Bob

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      My dogs have nothing to do with halloween. My cat is gray, so we are safe with that too. Good hub write.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago

      Voted up and useful. I also know some dogs also that are scared of costumes and will attack people in them if allowed to. So it's a good practice to play it safe and keep dogs away from trick-o-treaters at the door!


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