Published on: September 11, 2019
Author: Kathy Pobloskie
Category: Holidays, Pet Safety

Halloween can be either fun or frightening for your pets.  A little forethought and preparation can ensure that your pet family is safe during the Halloween festivities in your home and community. 


Costumes, Parties and Parades

First and foremost, even if your pets are going to be wearing costumes,  keep a well-fitting collar with ID tags on them at all times. Their costume shouldn’t interfere with their collar or harness and leash.  Next, make sure their microchip information is up to date. Have you moved, changed your phone number or dropped your landline recently? If so, update your information with your microchip company to ensure that you will be reunited with your pets if they go missing. 


Not all pets enjoy wearing a Halloween costume, so do a trial run first.  Make sure nothing is obstructing their vision, hearing or breathing. Ensuring they won’t get overheated is essential.  They should also be able to walk and potty normally without interference from the costume. Never leave a pet unattended in a costume (even for a minute!).  Make sure there is nothing they can chew or ingest that could harm them. If they seem fearful or stressed it might be better to forego the costume or modify it so that they are more comfortable.  Maybe opt for a Halloween-themed bandana instead! 



Leave the retractable flexi-leash at home and use a traditional 4 or 6 foot lead instead.  Flexi-leashes can become a frightening, clattering “monster” behind your dog, if you accidentally drop it during the fun.  This can cause your dog to flee in terror and can result in injury if they run into traffic. Flexi-leashes can also cause serious burns to humans and other animals.  If someone comes to your party with a dog on a flexi-leash, swap them out for a traditional leash to use while they are there. 


Handing out Candy

Keep all pets inside and safe on Halloween night. Cats are probably best safely contained in a quiet room or in their carrier.   Dogs may enjoy the visitors, but to prevent them from accidentally darting out the door or nipping an inquisitive child, use a baby gate as a barrier at your front door.  Then you can simply pass the candy out over the gate while your dog can observe the fun but still back away from the children if he feels threatened. If your dog becomes stressed by the trick-or-treaters, put him in a quiet room until all is calm.


Keep all Halloween candy away from pets. Chocolate and any candy that contains xylitol (an artificial sweetener) can be toxic. To prevent fires and nasty burns, avoid using candles in your Halloween decorations. Use flameless battery-operated candles instead. Don’t let your pets get a hold of glow sticks which could cause an upset stomach.  Simple precautions can keep your evening from being ruined by having to make an unplanned visit to the emergency vet.



Have a happy and safe Halloween!