Candy, costumes, festive fall decor, and spooky fun—Halloween has everything you could ask for in a holiday. Whether you are out trick-or-treating with the little ones, or doling out tasty treats at the door, your pet may be subject to hidden dangers. The crowds, visitors, and a constantly ringing doorbell can cause your pet distress. Remember, an open door provides your pet an escape route, and neighborhood vandals often target pets. So, while you are carving the jack-o’-lanterns and hanging the spiderwebs, take a moment to assess your pet’s Halloween risks. Our Pierson Pet Hospital team wants you to avoid a Halloween mishap that could land your pet in the hospital, so follow our top five tips to keep your pet safe this holiday.

#1: Keep candy away from your pet

Chocolate is toxic to pets, and the more they eat, the sicker they can get. A small dog who eats just one or two pieces of dark chocolate can be in big trouble, while a large dog who eats the same amount may show no illness signs. Chocolate toxicity affects the nervous system, causing restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, and in the worst case, death. Another common toxin in some candy and gum is xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can tank your pet’s blood sugar and cause liver damage. Candy that does not contain toxic substances can nevertheless cause your pet vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis. The best strategy to prevent your pet from becoming ill is to ensure you keep all candy and goodies out of your pet’s reach. Ensure well-meaning children understand that treats are for humans only.

#2: Secure your pet indoors

Whether your pet loves visitors, or becomes anxious around anyone other than family, securing them indoors—away from trick-or-treaters or partygoers—can help keep everyone safe. Overzealous pets can greet guests with too much enthusiasm, and anxious pets may see the open door as a chance to escape the chaos. Keep your pet secure in an interior room to prevent them from becoming lost. Provide your anxious pet with a quiet, comfortable, safe space to retreat from noise and unwanted attention. Vandalism is another problem that could affect your pet on Halloween, and black cats are especially at risk, so keep them inside to protect them from those who are up to no good.

#3: Avoid open flames around pets

Beware the dangers of open flames, especially in jack-o’-lanterns. If your pet knocks over the flame, or brushes up against it, they risk being burned, and can cause a house fire. Flameless candle alternatives provide a real burning candle’s flickering effects. In addition, you should monitor your pet around all decorations, not just candles. If your pet chews an electrical cord, they can be burned or shocked, and if they ingest any decorative item, they can experience stomach upset or digestive system obstruction.

#4: Have your pet try on their costume ahead of time

Dressing up your pet can be one of the most fun Halloween activities, but before you dress your dachshund as a hotdog, or your cat as a lion, ensure the costume cannot harm or annoy them. Have your pet try on the costume ahead of the big night, and ensure their breathing and motion are not restricted. If any parts of the costume bothers your pet, remove them, and ensure your pet is not chewing on or trying to remove the outfit. If your pet is uncomfortable in a costume, try a different style, or swap it out entirely for a comfy Halloween bandana.

#5: Ensure your pet has accurate identification

If the worst happens, and your pet gets lost on Halloween, you can bolster the chances for their safe return by ensuring they have your current contact information. Collars and tags help good samaritans to easily identify your pet, and quickly return them to you. However, microchipping can provide a more permanent, reliable solution should someone bring your pet to animal control or a veterinary hospital. Your veterinarian can quickly and easily—no anesthetic necessary—implant your pet’s microchip, so have your dog or cat microchipped well ahead of Halloween. 

Halloween can be a fun holiday for the whole family to enjoy, especially when you take a few extra precautions ahead of time to ensure your pet’s safety. If you have additional Halloween hazard concerns, need advice on implementing safety strategies, would like to microchip your pet, or just want to show off your pet’s costume, contact us to schedule a visit with our Pierson Pet Hospital team.