Basics of Halloween Safety for Pets

Ghosts, goblins, ghouls and ghastly emergency vet visits:

Halloween horrors result in a major uptick in pet emergencies. Know where the dangers lie and be prepared to avoid them.

Keep Your Pet Calm and Contained

Even the calmest pets can get spooked by people in costume. Skip taking your pup trick-or-treating, and make sure your dogs and cats are safely contained inside the house. A scared pet might make a mad dash out the door when trick-or-treaters arrive. If the doorbell sends your dog into a tizzy, consider tucking him safely in a bedroom with music playing or even disabling it for the evening. For anxiety-ridden pets, consult with your vet before the holiday to determine if meds or other remedies (like pheromones or anti-anxiety apparel) will help.

Watch for Decoration Dangers

Ribbons, streamers, and straw entice curious kitties but can pose a choking hazard. Candles can burn snouts and tails, and those flickering in tasty pumpkins can be extra dangerous. Keep decorations safely out of your pet’s reach. That includes glow sticks; though not toxic in small amounts, glow sticks are an irritant and can leave a lasting nasty taste in your pet’s mouth.

Choose the Right Costume

Many pets feel uncomfortable in costumes. To adorn your pet in festive garb while keeping him or her comfy, consider a Halloween-themed bandana or collar and leash. If you choose to go with a costume, avoid anything with an elastic strap that goes under the chin. Make sure it’s not constricting; your pet should be able to move like normal—and that includes barking, meowing, and sipping water. At the first sign of discomfort, remove your pet’s costume.

Stow Candy Out of Reach

We all know chocolate toxicity is a big deal. Beyond that, though, a lot of candy poses a choking or blocking hazard. Think about lollipop sticks, fireballs, wrappers, and those little plastic spider rings. Keep your kid’s Halloween haul safely out of reach of your pets in a closed cabinet, pantry or even the refrigerator. Or, just eat it after your kid’s gone to bed—problem solved!

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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