Two dogs dressed as sheet ghosts sit on a porch, which has been . decorated for Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, and many of us are eagerly anticipating the decorations, the jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and eating lots of treats, of course. As pet owners, we naturally want to include our best fur pals in the fun. But for some pets, Halloween can be a truly frightening, and risk, time of year.

While many pets do like to be included, it’s wise to be cautious about where, when, and how you expose them to the festivities. Read on for some Halloween pet safety tips from Redwood Veterinary Hospital, and avoid a fright night for your pets. 

Awareness Is Key

While Halloween can be great fun for humans and pets alike, you should know that there are certain pet emergencies that occur more often on or around this holiday. And, as with most things, a little awareness can go a long way toward ensuring Halloween pet safety. 

Here are some things to watch for.

Treats. You probably know that chocolate is toxic for pets, especially dark or baking chocolate. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in candy and gum that is also highly toxic to pets. Call us right away or find the nearest pet emergency hospital if your pet ingests either. Candy wrappers can cause a painful intestinal blockage, so keep all candy bowls, bags, party treats and wrappers far away from pets. 

Decorations. For some of us, scary decorations are a big part of the fun. But power cords, strings of lights, and light up spiders (and the like) can scare pets. They can become entangled or worse, get electrocuted. Keep all decorations out of pets’ reach. 

Jack-o-lanterns. The holiday wouldn’t be complete without a carved pumpkin. But curious pets could tip these over, or suffer from singed whiskers and burns. Try an LED light inside instead of a live flame if you have curious pets.

Costumes. If your pet is used to dressing up and enjoy this part of the holiday, go ahead and include her. But many pets are frightened by costumes, so don’t force it if that’s the case. Avoid masks and dangling pieces and parts. Costumes should not restrict breathing or vision. Check your pet’s temperature often to ensure they aren’t overheating, and provide plenty of fresh water throughout the night.

Halloween Pet Safety

Unfortunately, one other main consideration of Halloween is that of pets getting lost. It’s all too easy for pets to scoot out the open door while trick-or-treaters visit. And some pets with noise anxiety can also become disoriented and try to escape, becoming lost. 

We recommend keeping your pets inside from prior to dusk and throughout the night. Cats, especially black cats, can become the target of senseless holiday pranks. And all pets are at risk for becoming disoriented and lost. 

Before the festivities begin, make sure your pet is wearing her collar and ID tags. Check her microchip registration to make sure it is current, or have one placed. If you’ll be taking your dog along the trick-or-treat route, invest in a reflective collar or harness and leash so she’ll be more visible to drivers and other revelers. 

A Novel Idea

It may be that your pet is a Halloween lover who enjoys answering the door with you. If that’s the case, take precautions, but let them join in the fun. 

But if you have a new pet or a pet who is anxious with new situations, consider letting them skip Halloween. Create a safe, secure space in your home for your pet – a small bedroom away from the front door or a laundry room works well. Include a pet bed, toys, treats, water bowl, and litter box, along with a white noise machine or soft music. Your pet will be away from the dangers of Halloween, and you’ll relax knowing they are safe. 

If you have questions or concerns about Halloween pet safety, please give our team a call. And from all of us, have a safe and fun Howl-o-Ween!