You may love a little frightful Halloween fun, but the festivities that are enjoyable for people can be confusing, scary—and dangerous—for pets. Plan a safe, calm, fear-free night of fun for you and your pet with Premier Pet Hospital’s Halloween pet safety do’s and don’ts
DO choose a comfortable pet costume
We love to see the creative and oh-so-adorable costumes your pets don for Halloween.
Before dressing your pet in a costume, however, consider the following, to ensure a positive experience for all parties:
- Comfort — Choose a costume that fits your pet comfortably, without interfering with movement or breathing.
- Safety — Ensure your pet’s costume is free of any adornments they could ingest.
- Praise — Our pets are so good at humoring our need to outfit them with festive attire on nearly every occasion. When your pet is in costume, reward their patience with praise and treats.
- Duration — After snapping some cute photos, give your pet a break, to avoid overheating.
- Supervision — Always supervise your pet in their costume.
DON’T force your pet to wear a costume
Not all pets are comfortable wearing a costume. If your pet appears fearful or stressed, skip the costume, or opt for a simpler, but festive, alternative like the following:
- Halloween-themed collar
- Festive leash or harness
DO keep your pet at home
Costumed strangers, masks, and doorbells can overwhelm the most easygoing pet. A fearful pet can react unpredictably, perhaps running away, and nothing is scarier than a pet escaping and getting lost. To keep your pet comfortable and stress-free on Halloween, leave them home in a calm, quiet space, away from the front-door commotion.
- Keep your pet secure — The front door that is continually opening and closing on Halloween night provides many opportunities for your pet to slip outside. Keep your pet secure in a crate or quiet room away from the action, to avoid a possible escape.
- Create a calm oasis — Turn on music or television for background noise, and provide plenty of engaging toys, to keep your pet distracted.
- Consider medication — Contact your veterinarian if your pet is highly anxious, to discuss the benefits of anti-anxiety medication.
DON’T forget to microchip your pet
If your pet does get loose on Halloween—or any other time, for that matter—a microchip and proper identification can help you get them home safely and quickly.
- Microchip — Ensure your pet is microchipped—talk to your veterinarian about the quick procedure—and that your current contact information is registered with the data company.
- Collar —Your pet’s collar should be comfortably secure, with current identification tags.
DO use pet-safe decorations
Trick-or-treaters ooh and ahh over spooky decorations, but some Halloween decor can pose a safety risk for a curious or clumsy pet. Be aware of the following hidden pet dangers when decorating your home for Halloween:
- Jack-o’-lanterns — Candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and wagging tails do not mix. Keep candles and carved pumpkins up high, where pets can’t knock them over, or get burned. Opt for faux candles as safer alternatives.
- Cords and battery-powered decorations — Cords and batteries can look like fun for a playful pet, but mistaking them for a chew toy can cause serious injury, including burns, electrical shock, and intestinal blockages, if swallowed. Always unplug decorations when not in use, and keep battery-powered decorations away from your pet.
- Glow sticks —The liquid inside most glow sticks is non-toxic, but can make your pet uncomfortable, and cause drooling and vomiting. Keep glow sticks out of your pet’s reach, and dispose of them promptly after use.
DON’T let your pet eat Halloween candy
The treats are part of what makes Halloween so delicious, but if your pet gets into your candy stash, you could face a pet emergency nightmare. Many sweets contain substances that are toxic for your pet, including chocolate, raisins, and sugary candy. Keep Halloween candy stored up high, and remind children not to share with your pet. Some of the most harmful and potentially toxic Halloween candy for pets include:
- Sugary candy, especially candy that contains xylitol
- Macadamia nuts
- Caramel apples
- Candy corn
DO prepare for a pet emergency
Keep the 24-hour Pet Poison Helpline number handy, and call your veterinarian or the helpline immediately, if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance. Signs your pet may have ingested a toxic substance include:
- Accelerated heart rate
We want you and your pet to enjoy Halloween without any scary pet emergencies. If your pet needs microchipping, or you’d like to discuss anti-anxiety medication, contact Premier Pet Hospital. If your pet runs into a Halloween emergency when we are unavailable, contact the nearest animal emergency hospital.