Halloween Safety for Your Pets

Two corgi dogs playing near a pumpkin in front of fallen leaves.

Halloween is full of fun things for you and your family to enjoy, but it’s one of those holidays that is enjoyed more by people than by pets.

Keep the following precautions in mind when preparing for the frightfully fun festivities and help ensure that everyone in your family—including your pet—has a safe Halloween.

The following tips can help get you and your animal friends through Halloween:

  • Cats, especially black cats, can become victims of malicious pranks on Halloween. Even if children mean the cat no harm, they might scream if they see a black cat on this night, terrifying the animal. Keep your cat inside.
  • Keep all your pets at home in a safe, familiar place – this is not a night for them to be out roaming. Keep your pet in a quiet place, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. You may know that the miniature monsters and goblins who come knocking on Halloween aren’t real, but pets don’t. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and could become frightened or agitated by the unaccustomed sights and sounds of costumed visitors. In addition, frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape, which can go unnoticed during all the commotion. Be sure all pets are wearing collars and ID tags in case of an accidental getaway.
  • If you have a protective dog that might be threatened by strangers, keep it away from the door when trick-or-treaters arrive.
  • Don’t let the family dog accompany the kids on their trick-or-treat outing. Children may have a difficult time handling a pet during the festivities and your pooch could get loose, especially if your dog is spooked by the strange sights and sounds of trick-or-treaters.
  • Resist the urge to put your pet in a costume. You may think your pet looks adorable dressed as a princess, but most pets don’t like the constraints of costumes. If you do decide to play dress-up, make sure the costume is safe for your pet and doesn’t constrain her movement, hearing or ability to breathe. Check the costume for parts your pet could chew off and choke on and look for dangling pieces like flowing capes that could injure her.
  • Candy is a treat for people, but keep it away from your animals: even a little bit can make them sick. Chocolate is highly to poisonous dogs. Candy wrappers can also be harmful if swallowed. Keep some chew toys or catnip handy if you want to treat your pets.
  • Keep decorations that pets could chew on—like streamers and fake spider webs—and wires and cords from electric decorations out of reach. If pets chomp on Halloween decorations they could choke or become ill and, if they chew on electrical cords, they risk a potentially deadly electrical shock. Pets could also become tangled and injured by dangling cords or decorations.
  • Place live flame decorations like candles and jack-o’-lanterns out of your pet’s reach. Curious critters risk being singed or burned by the flame—they could also easily knock over a candle or pumpkin and cause a fire.
  • Make sure you have a collar and identification tag on your pet. This will help you locate your animal if he or she manages to slip out. If your pet gets loose or if you find a lost pet, please call the local shelter to file a lost and found report.

Article provided by ASPCA.