Halloween Pet Health and Safety

Halloween is a fun and exciting time for most of us; however, we sometimes forget that our pets often don’t feel the same way. Scary costumes, toxic candy, and the anxiety of strangers intruding on our homes can sometimes lead to a very unpleasant Halloween. It doesn’t have to be this way. By following some easy tips, you can ensure that the whole family, furry members included, stays happy and safe this Halloween.


The era of Pinterest is upon us, and the image of your dog in a ridiculous tarantula costume may seem adorable, but can actually be both dangerous and uncomfortable. Keep in mind the following things when dressing up your pet this year:

Make sure the costume is loose, comfortable, and nonrestrictive. Often time’s pet costumes use tight elastics and straps to keep them in place. These elastics have the potential to be too tight and can lead to swelling, pain, or fur loss. Try to avoid costumes that have attachments, these can cause tripping hazards and be easily ripped off and swallowed by your pet. While putting a mask on your pet may seem hilarious, it probably is not the best choice as it can cause impaired vision and lead to accidents such as falling down staircases. Some stores sell “pet safe paint”, you should avoid these products as they can actually be toxic to your pet and cause skin irritation and rash. Just remember that any costume you choose for your pet can cause a problem, make sure your pet is closely monitored when wearing any kind of outfit.


Eating any kind of candy, especially chocolate, can have serious poisoning effects on our pets. Cats typically are not very interested in candy, but can sometimes be interested in the wrappers and if swallowed can lead to choking or abdominal obstruction. Dogs are our main concern when it comes to eating candy. Gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea and vomiting, typically results from candy consumption. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is extremely toxic to pets. If ingested you must take your pet to the Vet immediately. Keep in mind that Emergency clinics see an increase in chocolate toxicity over Halloween and you may find yourself waiting hours until your pet

can be helped. Finally, you must remember the importance of teaching your children to never share any candy with your pets.


During trick-or-treating, when strangers come to your home, ring your doorbell, and scream Halloween phrases, your pets can easily become frightened. Some pets might bolt out the open door and are at risk of getting hit by a car or lost. It’s best to crate your nervous or hyper dogs and keep cats in a closed room. If your pet is particularly anxious, you can ask your Vet about a sedative for the evening.

If you are thinking of taking your dog trick-or-treating, keep in mind that scary costumes, screaming children, and the risk of easily accessible candy can lead to problems. Make sure your dog wears a secure collar and leash, or better yet body harness, and ensure your dog cannot escape your grasp.


Many people have strong beliefs in superstitions. One of the most important superstitions to keep in mind this Halloween is the “black cat” superstition. Some people believe black cats are “bad or evil omens”. Even though we should have good faith in our neighbors, it is important to keep your black cats inside your home on Halloween. It may be horrible to consider, but incidents of black cats being abused on Halloween do occur and are easily avoidable.

Have a very happy Halloween and remember to follow these tips to keep you and your pets safe!