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Avoid a Pet Emergency With These Halloween Safety Tips

A dog holds a Halloween bucket

Halloween is a fun time for people, but it can be dangerous for pets. There are many things to watch out for, from decorations that could be harmful to candy that can make your pet sick. Here are some tips for avoiding a pet emergency and allowing everyone to have a purr-fect Halloween this year.

Keep Candy Out of Reach

A pumpkin bucket full of candy
Alliance Images/Shutterstock.com

The first and most obvious tip for keeping your pet safe this Halloween is to keep all candy out of reach. Chocolate, in particular, is extremely toxic for animals to consume. Theobromine and caffeine, two methylxanthines that are present in chocolate in varying amounts, can result in vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, arrhythmias, and even death.

Any type of chocolate has the potential to be detrimental to animals, however, the highest concentrations of methylxanthines are found in baking and dark chocolate. Smaller animals, like cats and small dog breeds, are more likely to suffer serious health issues after eating chocolate, but large dogs are at risk too.

Artificial sweeteners can also be toxic to dogs and cats. Other types of candy may not cause a pet emergency, but can make your furball feel sick to their stomach after eating. Make sure to store candy out of reach of animals or in a closed container that they can’t access. If you think your pet has eaten any chocolate or candy made with artificial sweeteners, call your veterinarian immediately.

Airtight Food Storage

Keep candy in sealed containers like this one.

Clean Up Regularly

A girl feeds her cat pumpkin seeds
ABO PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock.com

Halloween creates many potential choking hazards for your pets. Candy wrappers discarded around the house can be eaten by mischievous cats or dogs. These wrappers can also cause intestinal issues after being swallowed depending on the size of your pet.

Be sure to do a sweep of the house after putting on and taking off costumes for parties. Many costumes contain loose items that can present a choking hazard for your pet, so be sure to put everything away after it’s been used. Objects that are shiny or flashy can be particularly tempting for pets.

Be Mindful of Decor

A woman sits with her dog and a pumpkin
Aleksey Boyko/Shutterstock.com

Halloween decorations can also be dangerous to pets. Lit candles in jack-o’-lanterns can be knocked over by a curious cat or dog, presenting a fire hazard. Be sure to keep all lit candles out of reach of animals. If you must use them, consider using battery-operated LED lights instead.

Some Halloween decorations may also pose a choking hazard if they’re small enough to be swallowed. Be mindful of the decorations you use and make sure they’re big enough that your pet can’t accidentally ingest them.

On the flip side, large decorations that can be knocked over can fall on pets and hurt them. Keep this in mind if you have a rambunctious cat or dog that is prone to tearing around the house and knocking things over. You may need to secure those decorations to a base or remove them from your house completely.

Eldnacele Halloween Flickering Candles with Skull

When kept out of reach, these candles make great pet-safe Halloween decorations.

Be Careful With Costumes

A girl with her dog in a costume
Monstar Studio/Shutterstock.com

If you dress your pet up in a costume, be mindful of their comfort. Many animals do not enjoy wearing clothes and can become agitated or anxious. If your pet seems uncomfortable, it’s best to take the costume off and try another day.

Some costumes may also present a choking hazard if they’re loose fitting or have small parts that can come off. Be sure the costume fits snugly and doesn’t have any dangling pieces that your pet could easily swallow. If you’re unsure about a particular costume, ask your veterinarian for advice before putting it on your pet.

Pet Bat Wings

These wings are great for pets who may not want a more involved costume.

Protect Nervous Pets

A cat hides under a couch
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

The hustle and bustle of Halloween isn’t fun for everyone! If you have a shy or anxious pet, Halloween can be a particularly stressful time. Prime trick-or-treating hours are typically between the hours of dusk and midnight, so it’s best to keep your pet indoors during those times.

If children will be trick-or-treating at your house, make sure your pet has a safe space they can go to if the evening becomes too overwhelming for them. Set up their bed, some toys, and a bowl of water in an area that is far from your front door.

Finally, although it’s fun to pull pranks on your friends, avoid scaring your pets this season. They don’t know it’s Halloween, so wearing a scary mask around them or jumping out from behind a door will only cause added stress and worry.

Magicteam White Noise Sound Machine

A white noise machine can help soothe stressed-out pets in another room.

Secure All Pets Inside

Two dogs by a baby gate
Alex Zotov/Shutterstock.com

Even if your pet isn’t anxious about a steady stream of guests on Halloween night, the constant opening of your front door will provide many opportunities for your pet to escape.

Keep your pet contained in a closed-door internal room of your house while guests are trick-or-treating. If possible, put two closed doors between your pet and the outside during the evening. You can do this by putting your pet in a guest room bathroom or by putting it in an animal crate and closing the door, for example.

If you want to keep your pet out in the open, you can put up a baby gate or net on the outside of your front door. This will keep your pet contained inside even when the front door is open, although it won’t stop pets from jumping over it to get outside, so you still need to watch them.

Retractable Baby Gate

Secure this retractable gate to your front door to keep cats and dogs from darting outside.

Halloween can be a fun and festive time for the whole family, but it can pose some dangers for your pets. From candy to costumes, here are some things to keep in mind when preparing your cat or dog for the holiday.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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