You may like a good scare, but your pet probably doesn’t share your enthusiasm. Between the haunted houses and horror movie marathons, ensure your pet is safe this Halloween. Our Peak City Veterinary Hospital team wants to ensure your Halloween frights don’t involve a pet emergency, and we provide tips to help you have a pet-friendly ghoulish holiday.

#1: Prevent a pet disappearing act on Halloween

Distractions abound on Halloween, creating opportunities for your pet to go exploring when you aren’t looking. Tips to ensure your pet doesn’t perform a disappearing act include:

  • Keeping your pet indoors — Pets are typically safest inside, and this is especially true on Halloween. Trick-or-treaters and scary Halloween decorations can frighten your pet, making them bolt. In addition, many people use the holiday as an excuse to be naughty, and you don’t want your pet to be the target of a nefarious prank.
  • Alerting your guests — If you are hosting a Halloween party, ensure your guests know your pet isn’t allowed outside.
  • Identifying your pet — If your pet does manage to sneak past your defenses, you have a better chance of being reunited with them if they are properly identified. Microchip your pet and ensure they are wearing a collar and identification tags that have your current contact information.

#2: Keep your pet out of the Halloween candy

Whether you are a candy corn lover or your tastes lean more toward peanut butter cups, keep your pet’s paws off the Halloween candy. Never leave your furry pal alone with the candy bowl, and ensure your children don’t share their bounty with your pet to protect them from the following:

  • Chocolate — Ingredients in chocolate cause central nervous stimulation in pets, resulting in signs such as an increased heart and respiration rate, restlessness, and seizures. While all types of chocolate are dangerous, the darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity risk.
  • Sugar-free candies — Many sugar-free candies and gums contain xylitol. This sugar substitute causes an insulin release, resulting in severe hypoglycemia for pets. Xylitol ingestion also can lead to liver failure.
  • Raisins — Raisins, as well as grapes, contain tartaric acid, which can lead to kidney failure in pets.
  • Candy wrappers — If your pet gets hold of your candy stash, they won’t stop to discard candy wrappers, which can cause a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction that may require surgery to remove.

If you suspect or know your pet has ingested a toxin, contact Animal Poison Control or the Pet Poison Helpline to get expert advice so your four-legged friend receives the care they need.

#3: Protect your pet from scary Halloween decorations

Halloween decorations are great to get you in the spirit of the spooktacular holiday, but some decor is dangerous for pets, such as:

  • Animated figures — Nothing is more fun than scaring the neighbors with motion-detecting animated figures, but these decorations also can frighten and stress your pet.
  • Candles — Whether you use candles to set a spooky mood or make your house smell like pumpkin spice, lighted candles and pets don’t mix. Use battery-operated candles to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Novelty decorations — Novelty decorations, such as plastic eyeballs, spiders, and spider webs, can be ingested by your pet, causing a GI obstruction.
  • Electric decorations — If you hang lights or use other electric-powered decorations, ensure all cords are covered to prevent your pet from chewing on them.

#4: Avoid a pet Halloween costume debacle

While your furry pal is undoubtedly adorable dressed as a pumpkin, most pets don’t appreciate wearing costumes. If your pet is a good sport when it comes to dressing up, follow these tips:

  • Check the costume fit — Ensure your pet’s costume fits them appropriately and doesn’t irritate or pinch them anywhere.
  • Remove adornments — Remove loose costume pieces that your pet could ingest.
  • Watch for stress signs — Watch your pet closely to ensure they remain calm while in their costume. Signs to look for include lip licking, refusing to move, excessive panting or drooling, hiding, and lifting a front limb. Remove your pet’s costume if they exhibit any signs that may indicate stress or anxiety.

#5: Ensure your pet has a stress-free Halloween

Your pet doesn’t understand why goblins and ghouls roam the streets on Halloween or why tiny, oddly dressed beings keep ringing the doorbell, and these shenanigans can make them anxious. To help ensure your pet has a stress-free Halloween experience, follow these tips:

  • Create a pet-safe area — Confine your pet to an interior room and leave music playing to mask outside noises. You also can provide a food-stuffed toy to help keep them distracted.
  • Intercept trick-or-treaters — Place the candy bowl outside with a sign asking trick-or-treaters not to ring your doorbell if the visitors make your four-legged friend nervous.
  • Seek veterinary help — If your pet is prone to anxiety issues, ask our Peak City Veterinary Hospital team if a sedative or anti-anxiety medication could improve their Halloween experience.

If you want your pet microchipped before Halloween or you think they could benefit from anti-anxiety medication, contact our Peak City Veterinary Hospital team to schedule an appointment.