Written by Samantha Martin
Infographic credit: Samantha Martin
Halloween is a fun holiday filled with treats, costumes and celebration, but this combination doesn’t always bode well for our beloved pets. Activity in the streets outside, strangers in costumes at the door, and changes to the nightly routine can cause a lot of stress to your pet. Here are seven things you can do to make Halloween safer for your pet:
1. No Sweets for Your Sweetie. Keep pets away from Halloween candy. Many people know that chocolate can be harmful to pets, and dark chocolate can even be lethal, but there are many other types that can harm them as well. Many sugar free candies contain an artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. If your pet eats something dangerous, call your vet or ASPCA Poison Control (888-426-4435) immediately. Make sure to give your pet lots of their own treats that night so they are not scouting for goods!
2. No Trick or Treater Greeters. The front door is a high traffic area on Halloween. People ringing the doorbell, knocking, and wearing masks and costumes can upset even the friendliest of pets. If you have more than one person at home, this is a great time to train your dog not to mind the noise of the doorbell. Try to “catch” your dog before they bark and treat them, so they associate the scary doorbell with treats! If your dog is a bit territorial, and you want to keep their stress level down, keep the curtains and blinds closed and consider sitting outside with your candy, avoiding the doorbell/knocking altogether.
3. Must Show ID. Spooked pets may dart out the door or escape their yard and get lost. Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags and that the information is up to date. Please consider having your pet microchipped, and make sure to keep that information current. Use Halloween as a yearly reminder to double check your contact information is correct on all of your pet’s identification. You may also consider keeping your pet in a safe, quiet place like another room or crate (see more in tip #5) to prevent your pet from dashing out the door.
4. Keep Pumpkin Away from The Pumpkin. Decorative plants can make for a very upset stomach. Although cooked/canned pumpkin is okay for dogs to eat, raw pumpkin is not recommended. Jack-O-Lanterns can be easily tipped over by curious creatures and cause a fire. Keep pumpkins out of reach of dogs, and if you have cats consider using battery powered, flameless tealight candles.
5. Party Poopers Are Okay. Know the signs of stress in your pet. If they are demonstrating signs of anxiety, give them time away from the action. Some pets are better off in a quiet room (or if they have a safe space like a crate) away from all of the hustle and bustle. Provide them with their bed and favorite toys or treats to keep them comfortable.
6. Stay Visible. When you take Fido out for his nightly walk and potty breaks or if you decide to take them along for trick or treating, carry a flashlight, use a reflective leash/collar or put your pet in a safety vest. It is likely there will be a lot more foot and vehicle traffic around your home, and you want to be sure that your pet is seen. Do not let your pets wander outside on Halloween unleashed. With the increased traffic, there is an increased risk of being run over.
7. Beware of Superstition. Most folks are nice, but some are mean. Please keep black cats inside on Halloween. Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. Make sure your black cats are safely kept indoors on and around Halloween night.
Halloween should be fun for the whole family, including your furry friends. Following these simple tips will help keep your pets safe, healthy and out of any scary trouble on Halloween!