Halloween safety tips for pets

Halloween is a fun and festive time, but for pets it can be a real scary nightmare.   Keeping your pets safe during Halloween doesn’t have to be tricky and by taking a few simple steps can keep your pet happy, healthy and safe. 

Halloween candy – not sweet for pets.  Chocolate—especially baking or dark chocolate—can be dangerous and even lethal for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, loss of coordination and seizures. It can even cause liver damage in dogs. For cats, xylitol toxicity in cats has not yet been determined, so it is better to be safe than sorry and keep it away from your feline family members.  If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Don’t leave pets outside.  Pets can easily become the target of mean spirited people who tease, injure, steal and even kill pets on Halloween night.  Bring them in and keep them safe. 

Black cats.  Black cats are especially at risk on Halloween. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution. Make sure your black cats are safe inside during Halloween. 

Keep pets away from the door.  The continual opening and closing of the door to stranger costumes can be overwhelming and scary for your pets and can lead to an unexpected escape or even aggression.  Keep them (and the trick-or-treaters) safe by simply putting your dog or cat in a room away from the front door.  This will reduce stress, prevent escapes and you having to search for them in the night.  

Make sure they have ID.  Should your dog or cat escape, having the proper identification will increase the chances that he or she will be found. Collars and ID tags provide people who find pets with a way to contact you immediately, but microchips are permanent identification should your pet lose the collar or tag fall off.  Please make sure the information is up-to-date.  

No pumpkins for pets. If you are using candles to light your jack-o-lanterns or other Halloween decorations, please place them out of reach of your pets.  An excited tail or curious cat could easily get burned or cause a fire.  

Dressing pets up.  We all know they look cute in Halloween attire, but it is important to make sure costumes aren’t dangerous or annoying to your pet. Costumes should not restrict movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe.  And pets should be supervised so that if something goes wrong with the costume, it can be remedied right away. 

Taking just a few safety precautions will keep Halloween happy for all.   Happy Halloween! 


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