7 Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe on Halloween

by | Read time: 3 minutes

Many of us look forward to Halloween, but the holiday can be stressful—even dangerous—for our four-legged family members. Take the following precautions to help ensure All Hallows’ Eve is full of treats, not tricks, for your prized pet.

Dog on Bed Wearing Bear Costume on Halloween | Vitacost.com/Blog

1. Don’t leave your pet in the yard

Sadly, defenseless animals may fall prey to malicious pranksters on October 31—especially black cats. To protect your pet from teasing, injury, theft and other acts of cruelty, keep him or her inside the house on and around the holiday.

2. Don’t take your pup trick-or-treating

Although it may be tempting to take your dog door-to-door, he or she may be easily spooked by all the sights and sounds of Halloween (e.g., costumes, decorations, loud noises). Your pooch could attempt to run away or become aggressive and bite a trick-or-treater.

3. Keep your pet confined

To help ensure your canine or scaredy cat is safe on Halloween, tuck him or her away in a comfortable crate or a closed room at the back of your home. This can help reduce your pet’s stress—and the odds that he or she will be able to make a break for it while you’re handing out candy.

4. Remember your pet’s ID

Make sure your dog or cat wears his or her collar and tags on Halloween—especially if he or she isn’t microchipped. This simple act can increase the odds of a safe and speedy return in the event he or she escapes while you’re tending to a steady stream of trick-or-treaters. 

5. Keep the treats out of reach

Halloween candy is for humans, not our furry family members. Many popular treats can be poisonous to pets—especially chocolate (the darker the variety, the more dangerous) and candies containing xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, seizures and even death. Keep your treats, including wrappers, away from curious cats and canines, and if you suspect your pet has ingested something he or she shouldn’t, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 ASAP!

6. Keep an eye on the decorations

Halloween decor can also pose a safety risk for cats and dogs. Ink used in certain brightly colored decorations, like paper pumpkins and orange streamers, may be toxic to pets, and lit candles nestled inside of Jack-o’-lanterns can burn animals or start a fire if tipped over. In addition, balloons and small items, like plastic pumpkins or skeletons, can cause stomach upset or even block your pet’s digestive tract if swallowed.

7. Rethink your pet’s costume

Even the most adorable Halloween ensemble can cause your dog or cat undue stress. In fact, the ASPCA recommends that you forego the costume unless it is evident that your pet loves it. If you feel you must dress up your furbaby, check the costume for choking hazards (e.g., small, dangling pieces that can easily be chewed off) and make sure it does not impede your pet’s sight, movement or ability to breathe, meow or bark. And don’t forget to have a dress rehearsal before the holiday to make sure your pet can tolerate the outfit.

Treat your well-behaved pet this Halloween with a batch of homemade pumpkin-peanut butter dog treats!