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How to Keep Pets Safe on Halloween

Halloween festivities are even better when dogs and cats can join in on the fun, but don’t forget these tips for keeping pets safe on All Hallow’s Eve.


Writer Animalia Team

dog dressed as halloween pumpkin

You’re never too old for Halloween fun! Inviting puppies and kittens to join in on the festivities makes the spooky season even better. Beware, however, that Halloween can easily take a turn for the genuinely frightening if pet owners aren’t careful. Check out our tips for ensuring bumps in the night don’t lead to a Halloween health emergency. 

Keep Halloween treats out of reach

No matter how tempting it may be to feed your pet a Halloween treat, always keep candies and other goodies far away from your cat or dog! That goes for every type of holiday snack: cookies, gummies, hard candies, pretzels, popcorn, all of it! You’re probably already aware of the dangers posed by chocolate, but let us reiterate them here. Never feed your pet any amount of any type of chocolate. While animals differ in the amount of toxic chocolate they can tolerate, owners should never serve up even the slightest bite. Raisins and artificial sweeteners are off-limits too. Both could prove fatal to hungry pets.  

dog eating halloween treats

Remember that you can’t tell what’s in a treat just by looking at it. If you want to give your pet a treat for Halloween, make sure it’s prepackaged and certified safe for dogs or cats. When in doubt, bake it yourself and take particular care to review your ingredients. If you know or suspect your pet has eaten treats containing raisins, chocolate, or xylitol, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Pet-proof your holiday decorations

Eager, curious pets combined with Halloween can sometimes be a scary combination – and not in a good way! Jack-o-lanterns present an obvious hazard. Pets are often attracted by the light inside, jumping to investigate and suffering injuries like burns to the face, fur, and even putting others at risk. Make sure that open flames, especially, are positioned far from probing paws!

Wired decorations are also a safety hazard. Dogs and cats can injure themselves by chewing on electrical wires, potentially suffering serious shocks. Where possible, run wires through PVC tubing, conduit, or tank tubing to ensure the safety of young pets who especially enjoy chewing.

When decorations are swallowed, they can quickly cause trouble by obstructing or wounding the digestive tract. This is especially true of long, stringy spider web decorations. Make sure they are placed high up, so your curious cat or inquisitive dog can’t get at them! Moldy or rotting pumpkin seeds and flesh can be harmful too, so make sure that these are discarded straight away. 

Chocolate is unsafe for canine and feline consumption primarily because of its abundance of a chemical called theobromine.

Identification tags for safety

With so many people out and about on Halloween, it’s a good idea to take extra safety precautions. To protect your pets from getting lost or stolen, make sure they never leave the house without appropriate identification. This can take the form of a microchip, collar, ID tag, or all (best of all) a combination of all three. Pets have been known to get distracted by the noise, lights, crowds, and festivities associated with Halloween and bolt from their homes out of fright or desire for treats. Accurate identification helps ensure they can always find their way back home.  

Halloween pet safe

What about costumes for your pets?

While costumes make for cute photo-ops, it’s generally best to keep them simple. This helps keep pets as safe and comfortable as possible while allowing you both to enjoy Halloween bonding. You might think an elaborate get-up is cute and spooky, but your pet probably wouldn’t agree! So keep it minimalist, opt for non-irritating fabrics, and avoid any tight materials around the throat. Make sure costumes don’t include elements that can be chewed off and swallowed and avoid any potentially irritating odors. Make sure your pet’s costume won’t block breathing, sight, hearing and other senses as this can cause distress. 

Before the big night, make sure your pet has time to get used to their costume. If your pet shows any signs of discomfort, remove the costume immediately. Remember: never leave a costumed pet unattended and keep costumed time to a minimum. Get your pictures quickly and let your pet enjoy Halloween fun and games without the burden of a costume. 

The most popular Halloween costume for dogs is predictable – a pumpkin. Hot dogs follow close behind at #2.

Beware of strangers and guests around anxious pets

It’s a good idea to keep your pet indoors in a safe space when trick-or-treaters come to call, but with all the excitement accidents do happen. If your pet is prone to anxiety or acting out, it may be best to leave them in a comfortable zone of their own throughout Halloween. Soothing background noise, familiar toys, soft cushion, and tasty treats will all help to calm them. Make sure the room is as far away from the front door as possible.

Protect your pets all year round

Whatever the changing seasons bring, a good pet insurance policy helps take some of the stress and expense out of pet ownership. Get a quote today to learn how much easier insurance can make it to provide everything your dog or cat needs.


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