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  • Writer's pictureJulie Reisinger, RVT, LATg

Halloween Pet Safety

Updated: Sep 11, 2021


Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for most people, but it can be very stressful for pets. Wondering how you can help make this a fun and safe day for your furry friends? Just follow the tips below!


Beware of (Human) Treats: As most people already know, chocolate can be lethal to pets, but did you know that xylitol is an often overlooked toxin as well? This artificial sweetener is often added to sugar-free candies and gums, and can be lethal to dogs (even though it’s not clear if the same lethality applies to cats, it’s better to be safe than sorry). Here are some other ways Halloween treats can be harmful to pets, from Banfield.com: candy can cause stomach upset, which can lead to vomiting/diarrhea; packaging can cause choking or intestinal blockage; sticks from candy apples can break and cause choking or internal damage; foil wrappers can become as dangerous as razor blades if ingested. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.


Don't give human Halloween treats to your pets, as many of them can be toxic

Keep Decorations Out of Reach: Lit pumpkins around pets are a huge hazard, and cats and kittens are especially at risk of getting burned by candles, or causing a fire by knocking them over. Although battery-operated candles are a great alternative, make sure your pets don’t chew on or ingest them, as the batteries are toxic and can cause blockages. Speaking of chewing on decorations, according to PetMD, “ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins or corn displays can cause big problems”, including gastrointestinal upset, blockages, or may contain molds that produce mycotoxins, which can cause neurologic problems in pets.

This pup is not amused, although he is adorable!

Be Careful with Costumes: Is there anything cuter than a pet in a costume? I don’t think so, but there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting one for your pet, from the AVMA: “make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume.”


Keep Pets in a Safe Place: Depending on where you live, you may have many trick-or-treaters coming and going, or maybe you’re having a party with some friends. In any case, you should make sure that your pets are in a safe place. Some pets are fine being the life of the party, but they still need an area they can retreat to if they get overwhelmed. If there’s a lot of Halloween activity in your area, it would be a good idea not to let your pets loose in the yard, just in case they get spooked by all the creepy creatures wandering the neighborhood! On that note...


You know these are just costumes, but your pet may get frightened by these strange creatures coming to the door

Make Sure Your Pet is Properly ID’d: No matter how cautious you are, there’s always a chance your pet can slip out the door when you’re opening it for trick-or-treaters, or escape over/under your fence if they get scared, or panic and pull their leash away from you in they encounter an unfamiliar sight or sound. That’s why you should make sure that they are wearing a collar/ID tag, and that your information is up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to have your pet microchipped; it’s cheap and relatively pain-free, and unlike a collar/ID tag, a microchip can’t fall/tear off, or be removed.


For more Halloween safety tips, check out the following articles:


For more pet safety tips, check out our blogs on Bloat prevention, watching wildlife, and more! To get notified when new blogs are posted, subscribe at the bottom of our blog page here!


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