The Humane Society of the Black Hills wishes everyone a happy Halloween this year! But we also want to wish everyone a safe Halloween – humans and pets alike. Here are 3 tips for having pet-friendly Halloween fun.

  1. Parents, please talk to your children about how to be safe around unfamiliar animals. With a lot of little ones excited to go trick-or-treating, we don’t want any children getting hurt by dog bites or cat scratches. Before beginning your candy collecting adventure, please talk to your children about animal safety. For example, let your children know not to approach any animal they don’t know unless the owner is present and gives you permission. Some pets are anxious around people, especially children. If a dog at large comes up to your children, teach your children not to run. Sometimes, a small child running can drive a dog’s chase instincts. And remember, all animal bites and scratches that could transmit a disease like rabies must be reported to Animal Services and Enforcement. It’s helpful to have a description of the animal (name, color, breed, size, collar) and the owner’s information (name, address, location of the incident).
  2. Pet-owners, please keep your animals contained or restrained. This is an exciting holiday for your pets, too! New people dressed in scary and strange costumes are approaching their house and knocking on their door or ringing their doorbell. This might be a good night to confine your pet to a single room in the house with a nice treat or new toy. You could leave the radio or tv on to give it something comforting to listen to, and make sure you frequently visit to let it know you’re ok, too. Giving your animal its own personal safe-space will reduce its stress and reduce the likelihood of your animal escaping. If your animal does get lost, follow the guidelines on our website ( to help reunite with your furry friend.
  3. Pet-owners, please keep the Halloween candies and decorations away from your pets. Some of the delicious goodies we love, like chocolate, are dangerous for your pets. Cats might tip over your lit Halloween jack-o’-lantern. And your animal might find those dangley decorations or costumes tempting to chew on, which could cause it to choke. Secure all your goodies away from those curious paws! If your animal does get into the candy bowl, talk to your vet about the best course of action.

Halloween is supposed to be a fun holiday! While it’s okay to be scared of the ghouls, goblins, and ghosts, let’s not be scared of a traumatic event like a dog bite or lost pet occurring. Help us keep Halloween safe and enjoyable by following these tips to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

By Nick Palko, Animal Services and Enforcement