The jack-o’-lanterns are carved, the candy stocked, and the costumes chosen. However, have you made a Halloween pet safety plan? Halloween is a spooktacular holiday, but the hair-raising festivities can be dangerous for your pet. Our Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital team wants you and your four-legged friend to enjoy Halloween, and we offer guidelines you should follow to help keep your pet out of harm’s way when the ghosts and goblins come out to play.

Prevent a pet disappearing act

Halloween is hectic, upsetting pets and potentially causing them to run away. Help ensure your pet stays safe at home during the Halloween festivities by following these tips:

  • Keep your pet inside — Halloween is no time for your pet to roam outside. Keeping your four-legged friend inside prevents them from following trick-or-treaters, being startled by animated Halloween decorations, and becoming pranksters’ targets.
  • Prevent door dashing — When your door is open to trick-or-treaters and partygoers, your pet has a good opportunity to escape. If your pet has a tendency to dash out an open door, confine them to their crate or an interior room to ensure they don’t sneak past your defenses.
  • Inform your guests — If you host a party and your pet is allowed to mingle, post signs on your doors to help ensure your guests know your furry pal must stay inside.
  • Securing doors and windows — Ensure your doors and windows are closed and secured, so your pet can’t escape.

On Halloween, your attention will veer in several directions, preventing you from monitoring your pet at all times. To help improve your chances of being reunited with your pet if they do go missing, ensure they have proper identification. Microchipping your pet is the easiest and best way to provide your four-legged friend with permanent identification, and they should also always wear a collar and identification tags that have your current contact information. In addition, ensure your pet’s collar is secure and the tag information is legible. 

Keep Halloween treats away from your pet

Halloween wouldn’t be the same without sweets, but trick-or-treat candy poses many dangers for your four-legged friend. Keep your candy stash in a secure location out of your furry pal’s reach, and ensure your children know they must not share their trick-or-treat bounty with their furry pal. Your pet should not eat the following common Halloween items:

  • Chocolate — Chocolate in any form, including candy bars and baked goods, is toxic to pets, causing signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart and respiration rates, and seizures. While all chocolate should be kept away from your four-legged friend, baking and dark chocolate are the most dangerous.
  • Sugar-free treats — Many sugar-free candies and gums contain the sugar substitute xylitol, which is extremely toxic to pets, causing a significant blood sugar drop. Pets’ xylitol toxicity signs include vomiting, weakness, seizures, and collapse. In some cases, the toxin can also cause liver failure.
  • Raisins — While not a Halloween fan favorite, raisins are sometimes placed in trick-or-treat bags. However, raisins can cause your four-legged friend to experience  kidney failure.
  • Candy wrappers — No pet ever let a candy wrapper get between them and a sweet treat. In their haste to gobble your candy stash, your pet may inadvertently ingest plastic and foil candy wrappers, which can become a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction, requiring surgical removal.

Ensure your pet’s costume is appropriate

Most pets prefer their birthday suit to a Halloween costume because being forced to wear restrictive clothing can be stressful for cats and dogs. If your pet allows such shenanigans, follow these tips to ensure the costume doesn’t endanger them:

  • Check the fit — Ensure the costume isn’t too big or too small and doesn’t rub or irritate your pet’s skin. 
  • Ensure your pet can move — Ensure the costume doesn’t inhibit your pet’s movement, breathing, or sight.
  • Remove extraneous parts — Remove decorative embellishments and other extraneous parts that your pet may ingest, leading to a GI obstruction.
  • Keep the costume session short — Your pet may be a good sport, but you should still keep their costume-wearing session short to prevent undue stress.
  • Read the signs — If your pet exhibits stress signs, including refusing to move, hiding, heavy panting, or lick lipping, immediately remove the costume.

Choose pet-friendly decorations

Pets are curious and tend to investigate any new items in their environment. So, they will thoroughly examine your Halloween decorations. When decorating for Halloween, ensure you choose pet-friendly options to avoid these potential dangers:

  • Candles — Lit candles are often used to create a spooky atmosphere, but an investigative paw or nose can be burned or cause a fire.
  • Animated figures — Animated Halloween decorations are fun, but they can easily startle or frighten your pet.
  • Glow sticks — The material in glow sticks isn’t toxic to pets. However, if your pet ingests glow stick liquid, their mouth can become irritated and they may experience GI upset. 

Keep your pet calm on Halloween

Many pets, especially those prone to anxiety, find Halloween stressful. Ways To ensure your pet has a stress-free experience, follow these tips:

  • Create a pet-safe zone — Designate an interior room as your pet’s Halloween safe zone, ensuring they have everything they need such as bedding, water, treats, and toys. Play music to mask outdoor noises, and provide a food-puzzle toy to help distract your furry pal.
  • Seeking veterinary help — lf your pet’s anxiety is easily triggered, ask our team if a sedative or anti-anxiety medication can help your four-legged friend stay calm on Halloween. 

If you need your pet microchipped before Halloween or think they may benefit from a sedative or anti-anxiety medication, contact our Tennessee Avenue Animal Hospital team.