Avoid a Fright Night With These Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is just around the corner, and you and your two-legged kids might be eagerly anticipating the costumes, decorations, and treats of the holiday. However All Hallows Eve may not be as fun time for your pets. You should be aware that there are a few pet emergencies that occur on or around Halloween.

Luckily, with some preparation and attention, your pets can enjoy a safe and fun holiday along with the rest of the family. Keep reading to learn about Halloween pet safety from your team at Wellesley-Natick Veterinary Hospital.

Pets and Costumes 

Do you like to dress up your pets for Halloween? Many people do. Unless your pet is really comfortable with dressing up, let her sit this one out. If she likes to participate, keep these safety tips in mind to avoid a trip to the animal emergency clinic.

Avoid loose fabric and dangling pieces. Pets may be tempted to chew off dangling bits which can cause choking or a painful intestinal blockage. Loose and dangling bits of costume can also trip your pet, become entangled or get caught in closing doors. 

Avoid masks. Masks can obstruct your pet’s vision and restrict breathing. A sudden loss of vision or ability to breathe normally can cause great stress for your pet. As well, not being able to see well can cause injuries and risk of being struck by a passing car. Our pets are cute enough without masks!

Be careful with pet hair dye. If you’re planning on dyeing your pet’s fur for the evening, be very careful when selecting a product. You don’t want to cause a skin irritation or allergic reaction. Dyes can also cause gastrointestinal upset if ingesting by licking it off. Choose a pet safe hair dye, and stay away from eyes and mouth, even with a pet safe product. 

Shed a light. If you’ll be taking your pet along on the neighborhood trick or treat jaunt, give them some reflective gear to wear. In the fall, visibility is diminished. Self illuminating or reflective collars and leashes can give drivers a better view of your pet and make sure she stays safe. 

Dangerous Decor

As fun as those light up decorations are, they can pose a risk to your pets. Evaluate your choices carefully, and watch for:

Jack-o-lanterns. It wouldn’t be Halloween without a carved pumpkin or two. If you use real flame inside, keep in mind that a curious pet may investigate and get burned. A knocked over jack-o-lantern is a fire hazard. And if too much pumpkin is ingested, it can cause your pet to get sick. Keep these outside and out of reach of pets, and consider using LED lights instead of candles.

Spider webs. Be careful that pets can’t get access to spider web decorations. If they eat it, it can cause an intestinal blockage that may require expensive emergency surgery to remove. 

Halloween Treats

The quintessential treat day of the year is something kids and adults look forward to. But many Halloween treats pose a risk to pets if ingested.

Chocolate. Chocolate that is ingested can be toxic to pets, and cause diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, and seizures. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are especially dangerous.

Xylitol. You may have heard of this sugar substitute. It causes liver failure in dogs and cats, and is often found in candy and gum.

Raisins. If your kids get raisin boxes in their trick-or-treat bags, they may be none too happy. Your pets however, may relish the chance to gobble these up. Unfortunately, they are toxic to pets. 

If you want to give your pet some healthy Halloween treats, stick to apple slices (no caramel, please!), single ingredient store bought treats, or these healthy peanut butter baked treats


Lost and Found

Halloween is a night when many pets go missing. Unfortunately, it’s just too easy for them to slip out the door during the trick-or-treat commotion. And some pets are stressed by the activity of the night in general, and seek escape from their yard or home. We recommend that you keep your pets indoors from prior to dusk and throughout the night. 

A microchip can be your pet’s best chance of being reunited with you, should they become lost. Before Halloween is a great time to have one placed or to double check that your pet’s microchip is registered with your correct contact information. 

Safe and Sound

If your pet is happy to answer the door with you all night or go on the trick-or-treat walk around the neighborhood, by all means let him. But if your pet is anxious or unpredictable, consider letting her sit halloween out in a safe and cozy space. 

Pick a room in your home away from the front door, and set her up with her bed, toys, water bowl, treats, and a white noise machine or soft music. She’ll be happy in her den, and you’ll relax knowing she’s safe from Halloween dangers. 

If you have any questions about Halloween pet safety, please give us a call. And have a happy Howl-O-Ween!