dog dressed up

Of all our national holidays, Halloween is the second most common holiday that pets go missing. Like clockwork, it’s also the time of year that invariably sees an increase in pet emergency visits, due in large part to chocolate toxicity. 

If you thought Halloween was scary before, the risks to pet health are truly frightening. However, with an eye on Halloween pet safety measures you and your four-legged friend can still enjoy the holiday together.

Pet Costumes and Common Sense

Millions of dollars are spent every year on pet costumes, despite the fact that less than a quarter of all pet owners will attempt to dress up their pets. Dressing pets up for Halloween is definitely fun for a photo-op, but pet costumes can invite trouble to your pet’s sense of calm, and subject them to serious health risks. 

Be sure to follow these recommendations for Halloween pet safety and costumes:

  • Costumes should never restrict breathing or cover eyes or ear
  • They should be free of accessories that dangle or make noise
  • Take the costume off right away if your pet starts to show discomfort or stress
  • Be sure they aren’t overheating
  • Always encourage them to drink cool, fresh water

Halloween Decorations and More

A huge part of Halloween’s appeal is, of course, all of the interior and exterior decorations. Hanging some witches or ghosts from your front tree might not be enough to unsettle them, but any decorations that move, light up or make frightening sounds can cause inordinate stress. What more, many decorations require batteries or electricity creating unnecessary shock risks. 

It wouldn’t be Halloween without jack-o-lanterns, but be advised that these seemingly innocuous pumpkins can present certain problems. Because they’re a fire risk and have been known to singe whiskers and fur, use LED lights and only display on surfaces that cannot be accessed by curious pets. 

Rotting pumpkins, other decorative gourds, and even corn can lead to GI upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Gastrointestinal obstruction is also a risk to Halloween pet safety. Likewise, please do not rub pumpkins down in bleach before carving – use vinegar instead, as many animals (domestic and wild, alike) are apt to nibble on them once they are set out

Halloween Pet Safety and Candy

Chocolate, raisins, and nuts are the usual suspects when pets get sick on and around Halloween. Be sure that your pet cannot reach the candy bowl, get into the trash bin, or pick up discarded candy wrappers when out for a walk. Additionally, eating wrappers can be extremely problematic leading to a possible pet emergency.

Most importantly, when it comes to candy and pets, be sure that Xylitol is not on the ingredient list. This highly-toxic sugar substitute is commonly found in sugar-free candies and some peanut butters and, more often than not, will result in the death of your pet.

Safe, Quiet and Cozy

This Halloween will be a lot different, but that doesn’t mean the rules upholding Halloween pet safety can be minimized. Be sure to keep your pets in at night (especially our black feline friends), reduce the risks of your pet escaping, and create a nice cozy haven for them away from any action.

A Safe, Happy Halloween! 

Halloween dangers are real to our pets. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns, or need help addressing your pet’s health, behavior and safety. 

From all of us at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care, have a safe and happy Halloween!