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Pet Education

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for children and adults; however, the scary creatures, silly costumes, decorations and treats can be frightening and even dangerous for dogs and cats.

I recommend following these guidelines to keep your pet safe and stress-free on Halloween:

  • Who doesn't love a pet in costume? You may, but your pet may feel differently. If your pet seems stressed by the costume, remove it for their own safety.

  • Make sure your pet's costume is comfortable and doesn't obstruct vision, hearing, or restrict movement. Avoid tying anything around your pet's neck to prevent choking or strangling. Make sure the costume has no small parts or pieces that may be easily chewed off and swallowed.

  • To minimize chances of an accident, add reflective tape to your pets costume if they will be out after dark.

  • Although tempting, do not bring your dog along for trick-or-treating. Even the best-trained dogs can become spooked or aggressive in the noise and confusion of Halloween. Children you encounter may also be fearful of dogs.

  • Keep your pets inside on Halloween. Keep them in a room separate from the trick-or-treaters. This will prevent them from becoming frightened and threatened by noisy children in costumes. Too many strangers can overwhelm a pet and cause them to be unusually protective or aggressive.

  • If you have an outdoor cat (particularly a black cat), make sure to keep them indoors for several days around Halloween to minimize the risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents.

  • Be alert when opening the door for trick-or-treaters. Make sure your pet doesn't dart out the front door!

  • If you haven't done so already, visit your veterinarian for a microchip prior to the festivities of Halloween. If your pet does escape from the house or becomes lost, a microchip will increase the chances that they will be returned home again. Also make sure your pet is wearing a collar with proper ID tags.

  • Avoid hazardous decorations such as flaming jack-o-lanterns and candles which can burn your pet. Don't use streamers or ribbons around your pet's neck, on their collars or costumes or in your home. These items are frequently ingested and may cause intestinal obstruction which requires surgery to remove.

  • Keep Halloween candy out of pet's reach! Chocolate is toxic to pets and many candies can be harmful and make pet's sick. Also avoid giving your pet alcohol or any rich fatty foods. Pets have an excellent sense of smell so keep all countertops clean and a lid firmly locked onto the garbage can to prevent them from eating wrappers and food packages.


Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is a renowned, board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and other leading institutions. She is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Donna has written and lectured extensively on topics including nutrition, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney failure and respiratory disease. She is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to HALO, Purely for Pets, her TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres and her widely-quoted pet health advice in print and on radio.  Dr. Donna performs medical, nutrition and weight loss consultations for dogs and cats through her web-based veterinary consulting service, www.SpectorDVM.com.
 
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