Some pets love the hustle and bustle of Halloween, while others will find this spooky holiday a bit stressful. We recognize that animals are individuals, so while you while enjoying the festivities, consider it from your pet’s perspective. Halloween should be full of treats, the occasional trick, and plenty of adorable pet Halloween costumes filling your social media feeds. Unfortunately, it’s also full of potential dangers to our pets, from pet costume snafus to toxic treats to even electrical shock.
Keep the trick-or-treat candy away from your pet
Candy must always remain out of your pet’s sight. Whether it’s out of boredom or hunger, a curious pet can land in a lot of hot water if they decide to sample the candy bowl or treat bag. The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters, not Scruffy or Fluffy. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. Chocolate is perhaps the worst offender to Halloween pet safety because it contains the chemicals theobromine and caffeine. Responsible for hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, vomiting, and diarrhea, chocolate poisoning can also lead to seizures, collapse, and even death. The darker and less sweet, the more toxic.
Halloween hype causes pet stress
Before the trick-or-treating starts, put your pets in a quiet room where they will be safe from all the Halloween activities. If your pup is likely to try to run out the front door and is comfortable in a crate, consider putting them in the crate with a treat-filled toy and some soft music playing in the background can help keep cats calm. Minimize noise by sitting outside to keep trick-or-treaters from knocking on the door or ringing the bell. Even if you are just having friends over for a Halloween party, keep your pets away from the festivities in their safe room. Masks and costumes change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people may become frightening. Put a sign on the door to the safe room so your guests know it’s off-limits. When going out trick-or-treating, leave your dog at home. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion, and a bite or a lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun.
Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach
While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.
Some Halloween decorations can also pose a Halloween pet safety risk, such as:
- Electrical cords: Pets can easily chew on them and get an electric shock or get tangled up. Opt for decorations that run on batteries, rather than electrical cords.
- Fog machines: You don’t want them to consume the possibly toxic solution. Keep these away from pets or pass on their period.
- Glow sticks: Some pets may mistake these for chew toys. Similar to fog machines, you don’t them to consume the possibly toxic solution.
- Candles: Candles on their own or in jack-o-lanterns are seasonal favorites, but dogs and cats can easily knock them over or burn themselves. Opt for faux candles or keep them in an area your pet can’t reach them.
- Small decorations or decorations with small baubles: These can be a choking hazard. Either skip these types of decorations.
Be cautious with pet Halloween costumes.
For some pets, wearing a costume can cause stress. The costume should not limit your dog’s movement, sight, or ability to breathe, or bark. The costume should be checked over for small, dangling pieces that can easily be chewed off to ensure there are no choking hazards. Let your dog become acquainted and get used to the costume beforehand. If they show any sign of not liking the costume, let them go without it. Keep an eye on your costumed pet to make sure the costume is comfortable and allows your pet to move freely. Also, be sure to remove any chewable parts or objects that could come off and choke your pet. If your pet appears uncomfortable, take off the costume. Signs of discomfort include folded down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail, or hunching over.
Always keep an eye on your pet.
Always keep pets on a leash when you’re in public and in your view. Bring pets inside to keep them extra safe. This will keep them away from traffic and people who may scare them.