While Halloween can be a fun celebration for humans, the night can be full of fright for your dog or cat. Learn how to keep your pets safe and calm during spooky season with our 5 easy tips.

By Sydney Price
October 04, 2018

Halloween can be overwhelming or downright terrifying for pets. Unfamiliar faces in costume, lots of noise, strangers at the door, flashing lights, and toxic treats create a minefield of danger and stress for our four-legged friends. Make the night as safe and comfortable as possible with these easy steps.

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Move Candy Out of Reach

Chocolate is an obvious no-no for pets, but xylitol, a sweetener often found in gum and sugar-free candies, can cause serious liver damage to both dogs and cats if ingested. Even if you've gobbled up every last bit of your tasty treats, empty candy wrappers can also pose a choking hazard. To protect your pets during trick-or-treat season, store candy in a spot your pets can’t reach and make sure kids are aware that they shouldn’t share candy with their furry family members.

Designate a Quiet Room

With the door constantly opening and closing for trick-or-treaters, your pet will have plenty of opportunities to escape. Keep your cat or dog in a quiet room of the house away from the front door, such as the laundry room or a guest bedroom, and give them a treat or toy to distract them from the commotion—we recommend food mazes or puzzles that will keep your pet entertained while they work for a treat. Consider adding white noise, such as a TV, music, or fan. White noise can help drown out the sounds of voices or the doorbell ringing that may distract pets who are easily over-excited by visitors. Be sure that your pet has his or her collar and tags on for the big night, just in case; microchipping is an important way to ensure identification of your dog or cat if his collar comes off. Consider talking to your vet about the options before Halloween if your pet isn’t microchipped.

Keep Pets Indoors

While some pets may be used to spending evenings playing in the yard, we recommend keeping them indoors on Halloween night. With so many unfamiliar people in the neighborhood for trick-or-treating, pets are more vulnerable. Even if you have a gated yard, children may open the gate to pet a cute dog, and forget to close it. The unusual amount of visitors may frighten your pet, too—a normally docile dog may be frightened by costumed children or masked strangers and could bite out of fear or an attempt to protect you from these mysterious intruders.

Don’t Force Costumes

There’s nothing cuter than a cat in a costume, but some pets dislike wearing them. If you want your pet to wear their bee wings happily, introduce the costume before Halloween rolls around. Let them get comfortable wearing it for short periods of time and reward them with treats to build a positive association. Make sure any costumes fit right and don’t block their vision, hearing, or ability to breathe, and remove any small parts that could be chewed off. Even after adjusting to a costume, your pet may still show signs of being uncomfortable wearing something unfamiliar. A festive Halloween bandana is an easy, safe way to get in the spirit if your pet doesn't tolerate a costume.

Detox Your Decor

While some Halloween safety tips may seem obvious, you may not have considered the dangers your decor could pose. When prepping your home for the Halloween season, beware of decor items that can be dangerous to pets and watch out for things like candles and lit jack-o-lanterns that could burn your pet. If you choose to decorate with flashing decorations or string lights, make sure to move any cords out of reach of curious claws. When it comes time for Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, watch out for small accessories, like plastic spiders or faux eyeballs, that may fall off costumes or travel indoors with small children. These unfamiliar objects will spark your pet's interest and could cause a choking hazard.