Jack-o’-lanterns, trick-or-treaters, haunted houses and costume parties. Halloween is full of fun things for you and your family to enjoy, but it’s one of those holidays that is enjoyed more by people than by pets. Keep the following precautions in mind when preparing for the frightfully fun festivities and help ensure that everyone in your family—including your pet—has a safe Halloween.
- Keep your pet in a quiet place, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. You may know that the miniature monsters and goblins who come knocking on Halloween aren’t real, but pets don’t. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and could become frightened or agitated by the unaccustomed sights and sounds of costumed visitors. In addition, frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape, which can go unnoticed during all the commotion. Be sure all pets are wearing collars and ID tags in case of an accidental getaway.
- Place live flame decorations like candles and jack-o’-lanterns out of your pet’s reach. Curious critters risk being singed or burned by the flame—they could also easily knock over a candle or pumpkin and cause a fire.
Keep candy away from pets. All those sweets may taste great to critters, but candy, especially chocolate, can be toxic to pets. Candy wrappers can also be harmful if swallowed. Instead, tempt your pet with a few of his favorite treats.
- Resist the urge to put your pet in a costume. You may think your pet looks adorable dressed as a princess, but most pets don’t like the constraints of costumes. If you do decide to play dress-up, make sure the costume is safe for your pet and doesn’t constrain her movement, hearing or ability to breathe. Check the costume for parts your pet could chew off and choke on and look for dangling pieces like flowing capes that could injure her.
- Don’t let the family dog accompany the kids on their trick-or-treat outing. Children may have a difficult time handling a pet during the festivities and your pooch could get loose, especially if your dog is spooked by the strange sights and sounds of trick-or-treaters.
- Keep decorations that pets could chew on—like streamers and fake spider webs—and wires and cords from electric decorations out of reach. If pets chomp on Halloween decorations they could choke or become ill and, if they chew on electrical cords, they risk a potentially deadly electrical shock. Pets could also become tangled and injured by dangling cords or decorations.