There are few holidays more fun than Halloween. Millions of Americans celebrate every year with spooky decor, silly costumes, carved pumpkins, and all things Halloween. Pet owners are certainly not immune to the fun of the festivities. However, celebrating Halloween with a pet isn’t all cute costumes and photo ops. Pet Halloween safety is important to consider before the big, spooky night.
As with all holidays, there are several potential pet dangers to be aware of. We will cover how to safely navigate the food, decorations, costumes, and the big night so that you and your pet can roll into late October with everything you need to be safe.
All candy should be kept up and away from pets. Most pet owners are aware that chocolate is very bad for cats and dogs, but it’s worth stressing again: chocolate, especially dark and bakers chocolate, can be lethal to pets. But chocolate isn’t the only food hazard.
Raisins can cause raisin poisoning in dogs which can have effects ranging from vomiting to coma. And most sugar-free candies contain Xylitol, which is toxic to pets and can quickly cause very severe symptoms. Even candy wrappers can be dangerous if ingested. If you want your pet to be involved in the treats of the holiday, consider purchasing or making your own festive pet treats, avoiding the dangers of candy altogether.
What about all the fun decorations? There are several Halloween decorations that can be dangerous for our four-legged friends, not the least of which is jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin in small quantities can be safe and even healthy for pets. However, eating pumpkin in large quantities or, worse, a molding pumpkin, can cause intestinal distress for our pets. The effects of eating pumpkins are rarely severe. But your pet will be noticeably uncomfortable and may experience tummy troubles for a few days. So it’s best to avoid it.
Replacing real pumpkins with artificial ones doesn’t entirely solve the problem either. Fake pumpkins and even fake decorative corn can oftentimes become a chew toy for pups. And ingesting anything not meant for consumption can be dangerous.
Other potential hazards in the form of decorations can include candles, within jack-o-lanterns or otherwise displayed. Cats are particularly notorious for being a little too curious of an open flame.
Spider webbing can also pose an ingestion or tangle risk for both cats and dogs. Loose or dangling wires are never a good idea even for just us humans. And finally, glow sticks. The fluid within the sticks is non-toxic but will still irritate your pet’s face if they are able to puncture the sticks.
When decorating for the spooky day, just keep in mind you know your pet better than anyone. Think about what you are putting on display and how your pet will see the decor. Sometimes that’s all the foresight we need as pet owners to know whether or not we can safely display anything – any time of year.
One of the very best parts of Halloween is no doubt getting dressed up like someone or something else. And honestly, who among us can resist an adorable photo of a pet in costume? Dressing up our pet is generally a safe practice, but here are a few considerations:
- Make sure the costume doesn’t cause your pet any stress.
- Be sure it is flexible enough to not inhibit their normal movement.
- The costume should be well-fitting.
- Masks are never a good idea for pets.
- Limit their time in the costume. Most costumes aren’t designed for long-term wear.
The Big Night
When the big night finally comes, there are some additional precautions to take. The first and most important thing is to keep your pets safely indoors. There are disturbed individuals out there that take the mischief of the holiday WAY TOO FAR every year. It’s inexcusable and deplorable but an avoidable fate. Please keep your pets safely inside where they cannot be a victim of a senseless prank.
Also, if you are planning on having a party or passing out candy, it is a good idea to keep your pet secured in another, more quiet room. It can be stressful for pets to see countless strangers come to the door, especially in strange outfits. Pets can become overwhelmed, aggressive or even just flighty and dart out the front door. Securing them in a quiet room can help avoid all those less-than-desirable outcomes.
An important reminder for all major holidays: It is also a good idea to have up-to-date ID tags on all pets, in the event they do get out during the excitement. Microchips can also help to quickly locate a lost pet in the chaos.
If you are planning on taking your pup out with you for trick-or-treating, please follow these safety tips:
- Keep your pet on a leash.
- Add reflectors to their outfit or body.
- Be sure they’re wearing identification.
- Watch that they do not eat dropped candy.
- Keep an eye on their anxiety level. Always remove your pet from a situation if they are getting uncomfortable.
Halloween is a fun holiday filled with creepy decor, tons of candy and adorable pet costumes. There is no need to avoid the fun out of fear. Most Halloween hazards are avoidable and easy enough to prepare for. Look at anything you are planning for All Hallows Eve through the eyes of your pet and that will make keeping them safe that much easier. And please do us and the entire internet a favor; if you take a photo of your pet in an unbelievably cute costume – share it with us!