Halloween Tips for Pet Parents.
Halloween is a fun holiday filled with treats and costumes, but pets see things differently. The candy, trick-or-treaters and alarming costumes can create frightening and even dangerous situations for your cat or dog.
“A dog’s natural instinct is to protect their home or to alert you that a stranger has arrived,” reminds Amy Nichols, Vice President of Companion Animals and Equine Protection at the Humane Society of the United States. “And cats typically prefer a quiet environment with their family. Trick-or-treaters continually knocking on the door or ringing the bell can be very stressful to both dogs and cats.”
Read on for our tips and tricks on taking the terror out of your pet's Halloween!
Keep the treats away from them.
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. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
Pumpkin can be good for dogs and cats, but too much can cause digestive issues. Rotting pumpkin may harbor bad bacteria; keep jack o’lanterns safely away from becoming a holiday snack.
Steer your pets away from dangerous Halloween decorations.
Introduce your pets to their safe room before you decorate indoors. Changes to your home can make your pets, especially cats, nervous or frightened. Or they may decide those fake spiders pose an existential threat and need to be killed.
Be aware of which decorations pose threats. Some hazards are obvious, like lit candles (fire hazards and toxic to birds if scented). Other potentially dangerous decorations include rubber eyeballs (choking risk), glow sticks and fake blood (possible poisons), fake cobwebs (can choke or entangle pets and wildlife), potpourri (toxic to birds) and strung lights. Watch out for those candy wrappers and plastic packaging too!
Be careful with costumes.
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. We recommend that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or do a festive bandana instead.
Protect your pets from outdoor dangers.
Bring your pets indoors before night falls. Cats are always safest inside with you, but on Halloween it’s especially important to secure all pets inside so they don’t run away out of fear of adults and children in costumes.
In case they escape, make sure that all your pets are wearing tags with current IDs and that their microchip is registered with your most up-to-date information. Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of opportunities for a pet to slip outside and disappear into the night. Proper ID will help you reunite with your lost pet and take a recent picture of your pet that can be used for lost flyers just in case they get lost.
Find soothing solutions.
We know your pet’s safety is always a priority, which is why our experts have provided these Halloween pet safety tips, in addition to an array of other tips to keep your dogs and cats healthy. If you want to buy your pet something special so they’re included in your celebrations, explore our dog and cat products.