Tips for a Frightfully Fun & Pet-Friendly Halloween

By Nicole Abrego

Feel that chill in the air? The spooky Halloween season is here! Although Halloween may be a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still wanted to offer some tips on how you can ensure that your pets can have a happy and safe Halloween.

Hazardous Decor

Decking out the house and yard in the latest Halloween decorations is one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit. But while you’re hanging up ghosts from the trees or setting up a makeshift tombstone in your front lawn, be sure to keep your furry family members in mind. Keep items such as electrical cords away from easy-to-reach areas. Curious pets may try to chew the cords and could put themselves at risk of an electric shock. Open flames such as candles and jack-a-lanterns should be kept out of pet’s reach as pets can easily knock these items over which could lead to an accidental fire.

Skip the Halloween Treats!

It’s not quite Halloween without buckets of candy around the house. While the family is indulging in Halloween treats, just be sure that Fluffy or Fido don’t help themselves to your candy stash. Chocolates, especially dark chocolate and baking chocolate, are extremely toxic to pets and can cause serious risk to their health. 

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures

Additionally, sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute, Xylitol, are especially harmful to pets as ingesting them can lead to liver failure in dogs. If your pet happens to ingest something they shouldn’t have, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Don’t Force a Costume On Your Pet

Dressing up your pet in a costume can be a fun way to have them participate in the Halloween fun. However, it’s important to keep in mind that costumes are not for all pets and they can actually cause some distress for Fido or Fluffy if they are not comfortable wearing them. If you decide to dress up your pet, make sure that the costume fits them properly and doesn’t restrict their movement or interfere with their sight, hearing, breathing, or opening its mouth. Make sure there are no costume pieces that can easily be chewed off or become choking hazards. Additionally, never leave your pet unattended while they are wearing a costume. If your pet is obviously stressed out and not comfortable with wearing a costume, take it off of them immediately and maybe have them wear a festive bandana instead. 

Don’t Forgot Those IDs!

Whether they are dressed up or not, your pet should have proper identification on them at all times. During the commotion of trick-or-treaters or having a get-together at your home, Halloween could become a frightful night if your pet happens to escape outside and become lost. 

The most common form of identification is a collar with a name tag containing information such as your pet’s name, your name, and a current phone number. Keep in mind that collars are not fool-proof as they can come off your pet while they are wandering around. Microchipping is a great form of permanent identification that will last for the lifetime of your pet. A microchip is a small chip that is inserted under your pet’s skin via an injection. This process is absolutely safe for both cats and dogs. If your pet is found by someone and taken to an animal shelter or pet hospital, the microchip can be scanned to obtain your pet’s microchip number, and they will be able to contact the microchip company to get your contact information. From there, you will be notified and be able to be reunited with your furry friend. 

Keep Your Pets Indoors and Away From the Frights

If you happen to have trick-or-treaters stop by your home or opt for a small family get-together, it’s best to keep pets inside during the evening of Halloween. Pets can become easily startled during all the commotion, especially when they are not used to strangers visiting the home. Not only that, but some pets might try to bolt out when opening the door to trick-or-treaters and no one wants to experience having their pet become lost.

Best practice is to set aside a quiet, escape-proof space or room for your pet to stay during the evening. Make sure the area is comfortable for your pet and you can even have music playing or have the television on to help muffle the sounds of the outside commotion. 

We know this year has been challenging for everyone and we hope you find ways to have a fun and safe Halloween holiday with your family and pets. If you have any questions or need to schedule your pet’s next appointment, please contact us here.

The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.

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