Halloween is almost here, and though you might get a kick out of the adorable witches and ghosts who come trick-or-treating to your door, your dog or cat may not be as thrilled. Don’t let October 31 become your — and your pet’s — worst nightmare. No one wants to spend Halloween night looking for an escaped pet or rushing to the vet ER.
Here are seven Halloween hazards for cats and dogs — and what you can do to prevent them and keep your animal safe.
1. Keep Costumes Comfortable and Safe
Your pet might look adorable as Elsa from Frozen, but if your dog or cat paws at or squirms in the costume, they probably don't want to wear it. If your pet doesn't seem averse to being dressed up, make sure the costume fits well, can be seen in the dark, and doesn't have buttons, threads, beads or ties that can be chewed off. Supervise your costumed pet at all times and limit the amount of time they wear the outfit.
2. Watch for Escape Artists
The constant ringing of the doorbell combined with trick-or-treaters in masks and costumes can be stressful and scary for pets and cause them to react badly or even dash out the door. Keep your dog on a leash or in their crate. If you have a cat, keep them in another part of the house or in a closed room or crate. And no matter what precautions you take, make sure your pet is wearing a collar with proper identification, and, if they're not already, you should consider getting them microchipped. After July 1st, Halloween is the second most common night of the year for pets to escape, so be extra vigilant.
3. Keep Candy Away
Keep all sweets out of your pet's reach. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can lead to stomach upset or even life-threatening situations for both dogs and cats. Sugar-free candy is also risky, as it may contain xylitol, which can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs.
4. Don't leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless.
5. Beware of Dangerous Decorations
Halloween decorations are festive and fun, but some can be risky for pets. A cat or dog can easily knock over a lighted jack-o'-lantern, potentially causing a fire. So use a battery-operated candle or flashlight in your pumpkin instead. And while you’re at it, keep edible decorations out of reach. Consuming large quantities of pumpkin or decorative corn can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Scary decorations that make noise and have flashing lights also can upset animals, so be mindful of your pet if you choose to display them. And it’s also a good idea to secure stringed lights or electric cords — pets can chew on or get tangled in them.
6. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween.
Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
7. Let Your Dog Stay Home
It might seem like fun to take your pooch out trick-or-treating, but it could quickly turn into a nightmare. Flashing lights and unexpected sounds can alarm your pet, potentially creating a troubling encounter between an overexcited dog and the neighborhood kids. Do everyone a favor by leaving your dog at home.
We at Abbotsford Animal Hospital love Halloween and all that comes with it but we want all our pets to be safe as well.
If you have any questions or concerns, you can always visit or call us – we want to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.