Halloween is next week, and while it is an exciting time for families, it can be stressful, and even dangerous, for pets. Here are some tips to keep pets safe during the witching hour:

KEEP THEM INSIDE: Pets should be indoors during trick-or-treating. Lots of people will be out, and some may be tempted to taunt a pet in a yard, even a fenced yard. Harmful candy or objects may be thrown at or given to pets, and black dogs and cats are often targeted. For the safety of the pet, keep it inside.

STAY AWAY FROM THE DOOR: Spooky kids ringing the doorbell and yelling “trick or treat” can be frightening to pets, especially dogs and cats that are already timid. Nervous pets may try to escape out the door. Keep them in another part of the home away from the action.

NO TRICK-OR-TREATING: Going along with the family may make pets nervous and irritable. If a dog is protective, he may perceive others on the street as threats and may snap at someone. It is also hard to monitor for dropped candy that a dog may sniff out and consume. If a pet must be taken along, he should be on a leashed.

NO CANDY!: We all know chocolate is a big no-no, but so are lots of Halloween treats, such as sugar-free candies containing xylitol, which can cause liver failure in pets. Make sure the treats stay out of the reach of pets. Also, be mindful that young children do not try to feed their candy to the family pet in the days following Halloween.

DANGEROUS DECOR: Decorative lights, candles in pumpkins and the like may be enticing to pets, but they're easily knocked over and may be fire hazards. Keep all decorations out of the pet’s reach.

NO COSTUMES: As cute as we may think it is, dressing up our pets in costumes can be extremely stressful and may impair vision and restrict walking. Some family pets are accustomed to dressing up, but be mindful of any reactions to the costume.


SATURDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans holds an adoption event at the Palmer Park Arts Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton avenues. The booth is close to Dublin Street. For more information, contact adopt@animalrescueneworleans.org.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois@jeffparish.net. In St. Bernard Parish, send to cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.