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5 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Between trick-or-treating adventures, fun costumes, and elaborate decorations, Halloween is an exciting holiday to celebrate, and it’s only natural to want to include your furry family member in all the fun. But since not all of these traditions are entirely pet-friendly, here are five Halloween pet safety tips so that you and your pet can enjoy this holiday together in a safe and stress-free way, according to the Humane Society of the United States:

1. Keep Treats Out of Paws’ Reach.

When you think of Halloween, sweet treats and candies might immediately come to mind. But it’s important to remember that chocolate, gum, sugar-free treats containing the sweetener xylitol, and other foods can be very dangerous for your pet.

To prevent an emergency, store treats you plan on giving out to trick-or-treaters and the loot you and your family collect on your own trick-or-treating adventures in a high cabinet that’s secured with a lock or child-safety latch. Also, be sure to talk to everyone in your family so that they know not to share their treats with pets.

For extra precaution, always keep the contact information for your veterinarian and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in a visible place, like on the refrigerator. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in pets include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and seizures. Should you notice any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian or the hotline right away.

2. Choose Pet Costumes Carefully.

Costumes are another integral part of Halloween, and while it can be tempting to put your pet in an adorable costume, it’s important to consider your pet’s personality, what type of costume they’d most likely prefer, and for how long they’d tolerate it. For instance, a full, head-to-tail costume might cause your pet to show signs of discomfort, such as a tucked tail or whale eyes, but a festive bandana might be a happy medium for both you and your pet.

Even if your pet loves wearing costumes, make sure their costume is comfortable and doesn’t restrict their movement, eyesight, hearing, and ability to breathe. It’s also best to introduce the costume to your pet before Halloween night. Go slowly by putting it on piece by piece for short periods of time, and make it a positive experience for your pet with lots of treats and praise.

3. Skip Decor That’s Hazardous for Pets.

  • Festive decorations can help transform your home into a spooky haunted house, but beware the following Halloween decorations that can pose a threat to your pet’s safety:
  • Jack-o’-Lanterns: Not only are the lit candles inside fire hazards, but jack-o’-lanterns can also be a breeding ground for mold, which can cause health problems if ingested.1
  • Glowsticks: While these non-toxic items might seem like a safer alternative than candles, glowsticks can irritate your pet if they’re chewed or ingested, resulting in drooling and even vomiting.1
  • Spiderwebs: Some pets will try to chew on these decorations, and it’s not uncommon for cats to get trapped in them.
  • Fog & Sound Machines: While these won’t necessarily result in injuries, fog and sound machines can make an already-stressful holiday even more frightening for your pet.

4. Create a Safe Space for Pets.

We may view the costumes and trick-or-treaters as a fun way to celebrate the holiday, but this can cause stress for many pets, especially since masks and costumes can hide even the most familiar faces. 

Consider putting your pet in a quiet room far from the Halloween hype and giving them a treat-filled toy to keep them occupied. You can also help minimize the amount of noise and activity by welcoming trick-or-treaters outside so that your doorbell isn’t constantly ringing and alerting your pets to strangers, which may cause even more distress.

5. Make Sure Your Pet Is Wearing ID Tags.

If your pet is extremely social and feels comfortable near the Halloween festivities, know that the constant opening and closing of the front door to welcome trick-or-treaters increases the risk of your pet escaping. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your pet is wearing ID tags with up-to-date information so there can be a safe and speedy recovery. 

A pet microchip that’s registered to a national registry like the HomeAgain National Pet Recovery Database can also help make these emergencies a lot less scary.

For many of us, Halloween is a highlight of the fall season, and with these Halloween safety tips, you and your furry family member can enjoy a safe and stress-free holiday.


1Information provided by the ASPCA https://www.aspca.org/news/pet-parents-beware-these-four-fall-toxins


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