Whether you prefer visiting haunted houses, watching scary movies, or participating in trick-or-treating fun, Halloween includes several creepy traditions that can put your pet at risk. Our team at All Pets Medical Center wants to offer some helpful hints, to ensure your pet stays safe this Halloween.

#1: Don’t let your pet ghost you

Skeletons, witches, and headless horsemen are roaming the streets, and hatchet-wielding maniacs are waving their weapons, so your pet’s alarm is completely understandable. Halloween shenanigans can cause your pet to panic, run off, and become lost. Ensure they stay safe by taking the following few precautions:

  • Keep your pet indoors — The Halloween season brings out many people’s mischievous side, and you don’t want your pet to be the target of a malicious prank. Ensure your pet stays inside, to protect them from any delinquent behavior.
  • Create a safe zone — If your pet tends to get anxious, provide them with a safe zone in an interior room in your home, to insulate them from the rowdy revelers. If you can’t stay to provide comfort, leave a recently worn piece of clothing to help reassure your pet. A food puzzle toy is also a great way to distract them from the variation in their routine.
  • Keep your pet leashed — If you do take your pet outside, ensure you keep them leashed and by your side.
  • Identify your pet — All pets should be identified in case they escape during the spooky celebrations. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends microchipping your pet as the best way to ensure their safe return if they go missing. You should also ensure your pet is wearing a collar and accurate identification tags.

#2: Don’t let the witch’s brew poison your pet

Several common party foods and items found in trick-or-treat bags are dangerous for dogs and cats

  • Chocolate — Everyone gets excited when they find candy bars in their trick-or-treat bag, but don’t share your bounty with your pet. Chocolate causes central nervous system stimulation in pets, resulting in restlessness, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Xylitol — Indulging in sugar-free candy can help you cut calories, but this artificial sweetener causes low blood sugar in pets, which can cause incoordination, weakness, and seizures.
  • Raisins — No one appreciates receiving raisins on Halloween, but don’t give your pet your unwanted cast-offs. Raisins, as well as grapes, can cause kidney failure in pets.
  • Nuts — Mixed nuts are a great addition to any party table, but these snacks can cause gastrointestinal upset for your pet. Macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous, causing vomiting, weakness, ataxia, and hyperthermia.
  • Nutmeg — No Halloween party is complete without pumpkin spice baked goods, but these treats contain nutmeg, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in pets. 
  • Onions — Several common hors d’oeuvres contain onions, garlic, or chives, but these vegetables cause anemia in pets. 
  • Alcohol — Wine, cocktails, and beer commonly flow freely during the Halloween festivities, but ensure your pet does not imbibe. Alcohol causes incoordination, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures in pets.

If your pet ingests a toxic substance, immediately contact All Pets Medical Center or Animal Poison Control.

#3: Don’t let your pet be mummified

Dressing your pet in a Halloween costume certainly makes for an adorable photo opportunity, but ensure your pet is a willing participant before forcing them to be a pumpkin or a hotdog. Other precautions include:

  • Allow an adjustment period — Your pet will handle wearing their costume better if they have time to adjust to the situation. Start by allowing your pet to wear the outfit for a short period, and gradually increase the time they spend in the costume, so they will be comfortable on Halloween night. 
  • Ensure the costume fits — Ensure your pet’s costume fits well, and doesn’t impede their vision, hearing, or ability to move or breathe. 
  • Remove any loose pieces — Ensure the costume doesn’t have any loose pieces that could potentially become a choking hazard or a gastrointestinal blockage, if swallowed. 

#4: Don’t let your pet be scared to death

Elaborate decorations make Halloween extra fun and extra scary, but they can be hazardous for your pet. Decorations to avoid include:

  • Animated figures — Whether Frankenstein is coming to life, Freddy is proffering his razored hand, or the witch is stirring her brew, animated figures can frighten and startle your pet, causing them stress, and possibly providing an impetus to run away.
  • Candles — Multiple lit candles definitely offer a spooky ambiance, but a misplaced paw or tail can have disastrous results, causing a fire.
  • Chrysanthemums — Orange and yellow mums make great Halloween decorations, but if ingested by your pet, these plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, and incoordination.
  • Decorative trinkets — Plastic spiders, glass eyeballs, and fake fangs are fun to scatter around your home for Halloween fun, but your pet may be tempted to chew these items. If they swallow a decorative trinket, they may require surgery to remove the object.

A trip to the emergency room could ruin your frightening fun, but by following our helpful hints, you can protect your pet from Halloween hazards. If you would like your pet microchipped before the Great Pumpkin comes to town, contact our Fear Free team at All Pets Medical Center, to schedule an appointment.