Halloween is in just a few days, which means frightening family fun—from costume contests to trick-or-treating—is right around the corner. Although Halloween is filled with light-hearted tricks and treats, it’s important to keep safety in mind for every member of the family—including your pets. Halloween can pose a number of potential safety hazards for pets, who tend to experience high levels of stress due to the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Here are a few tips from American Humane to keep you and your four-legged family members safe and happy this Halloween:
- Costumes, while cute, can be dangerous for pets. Costume contests are popular around Halloween, and it’s tempting to want to dress up your four-legged friend in their own costume. After all, who can resist dressing up a pet in a cute witch’s cape or antlers? But if you do choose to dress your pet up in costume, make sure they can move in it comfortably and most importantly, safely. Avoid costumes that require tying anything around your pet’s neck that can choke them, or costumes that hang to the ground that they may stumble over. Let your pet be the judge. If they struggle and are uncomfortable, then maybe it’s best to let them stay dressed as a Corgi rather than a ghost!
- Keep your pet away from harmful Halloween candy and food. Before you give in to your pet’s pleading eyes and feed them that Halloween candy bar, be aware of the harmful consequences of feeding human food to any animal. Chocolate—especially baking chocolate—can be deadly to a dog, so keep all such goodies well out of reach. The other lurking danger during Halloween is a substance called Xylitol. This is a low-calorie sweetener found most commonly in gum and candy. It can be potentially lethal when consumed, even in small quantities. To reduce temptation, feed your pet before any guests arrive so they will be less likely to beg and steal food. Tell your guests of any house rules regarding your pet, such as not feeding them scraps from the table.
- If nicotine and alcohol will be consumed in your home this Halloween, be extra vigilant to keep these items out of your pet’s reach. These substances can be highly toxic—even deadly—to animals.
- Keep your home a safe space for your pet. Animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle of guests and trick-or-treaters. It’s best to keep your pets indoors and provide them with a safe, quiet, escape-proof room where they can be removed from the energy and excitement of the holiday. Remember to provide plenty of food and water, and let your pet catch up on some Zs!
- As trick-or-treaters come to your door, there will be many opportunities for your pets to slip out unnoticed. Make sure that your pets always wear current identification tags, consider having your pets microchipped if you haven’t already—and watch the door!
Halloween, and all the spooky fun that accompanies the holiday, is best enjoyed when the entire family is safe and happy. Follow these tips, and your pet will have just as much fun as you and your kids this Halloween! Be sure to visit our holiday tips page for even more helpful advice to help you and your pets with some of the other upcoming holidays.