Halloween Tips for Pets

Halloween is a time of fun and adventure for children and families, but can be a nightmare for many pets. Take precautions to keep your pets safe and out of trouble.

Some pets love to greet people that come to the front door, but when the door opens to a group of strangers dressed in outrageous costumes screaming shrill greetings, even the calmest, kindest pets can become fearful or stressed. At our house, in the past, we have gated the dogs away from the front door so they can greet from the next room. Some pets that become frightened might growl or snap, even though that is not normally their nature. With all the door opening and closing, care must be taken that no pets slip out the door un-noticed. It can happen so quickly; many pets get lost on Halloween. Be sure to have identification on all pets, whether that is a collar ID tag or a microchip, or both.

If you want to dress your pets for Halloween, please be sure to use costumes that fit well and will not result in tangled legs or tripping. Make sure vision is not obstructed; do not use any strings or ties around the neck that could be a choking hazard. Rubber bands should not be placed around ears, tails, or legs, as these can cut off blood flow. If your pet will be out with you on a cold evening, be sure the costume provides warmth. If the evening is warm, make sure the pet is not overheating. If the pet is panting, that can be a sign of stress or overheating. All pets should be kept on lead when taken out. Never leave a pet alone while dressed in a costume.

Everyone knows pets should not eat chocolate, but there are other ingredients in Halloween treats that can be just as, if not more, harmful to pets. Beware of treats made with peanut butter that may contain xylitol, which is deadly for pets. Other sugar-free candies and gum may also contain xylitol. Peanuts and raisins in candy can cause allergies and are potentially toxic.

Be careful with your pets around candles and jack-o-lanterns. Many home fires have been started by wagging tails or frightened cats running and knocking over lit candles.

Stress during holidays can cause anxiety, which can lead to diarrhea or upset stomach. Watch for loss of appetite or soft stools in the days following the holiday and treat as needed.

We live in a home in the heart of town now, so we will have many more children searching for goodies than we have had in the past. In order to keep the peace with 10 dogs and 4 cats, Hue and I will be seated at the end of our driveway handing out goodies. We may take one or two highly sociable dogs with us in their stroller, which will keep them confined and protected. The others will remain inside in a darkened home with the shades drawn to protect them from anxiety and stress.

Have fun on the holiday while protecting your pets.

Back to blog