Cats and dogs? Cute. Cats and dogs dressed up for Halloween? Even cuter. However, making sure your pet is safe and comfortable is just as important as picking out a winning Halloween costume for your furry friend. With these tips you and your pet will be able to enjoy Halloween worry-free.
Pet Halloween Costumes
You may be eager to dress up your pet as a pirate or pumpkin. However, not every pet is going to like wearing a costume. It is important to feel them out before dressing them up the day of and you never force them to wear something they are clearly uncomfortable in.When it comes to choosing a costume, you should “Make sure costumes include eye and ear holes, and if they don’t, consider removing whole portions of the costume to ensure your pet’s ability to see, hear, and breathe” (Bissell, 2018). You should also check the weather because certain costumes may overheat your pet.
If your cat or dog hates the costume you selected for them, there are ways to compromise. Pick out a Halloween themed bandana or collar. That way they are comfortable while still looking festive. Furthermore, if you plan on taking your pet trick-or-treating, be sure they are wearing something reflective. This could be a collar, harness, leash, or reflective tape. You want your pet to be visible to any traffic on the road.
Dangerous Halloween Candy For Pets
Everyone’s favorite part of trick-or-treating is the treats. This is especially true for your pet. While the candy bowl is full of delicious treats for you, it is downright dangerous for your pet. This applies to after the holiday as well. There are certain foods your dog and cat can’t eat. If you or your kids have a stash of Halloween candy hiding in the house be sure it is out of reach. In particular, you need to keep your pet away from:
- Chocolate in all forms – especially dark Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in sugar-free candy and chewing gum, which is toxic and can damage the liver (Bissell, 2018)
- Candy containing raisins
- Candy with a high fat content which can lead to pancreatitis (Therapy Dogs, 2018)
- Candy wrappers
- Lollipops and their sticks
Of course, this doesn’t mean your pet has to miss out on all of the fun, seasonal treats. You can always make some homemade pet treats with healthy ingredients just for them. However, in the case that your pet does get into the Halloween candy, be sure to contact your vet right away.
Halloween Decorations Safety
If you are planning to transform your home into a haunted house, make to sure to pet proof your decorations. Electrical cords should be covered and secure so your dog or cat can’t chew on them (PetCoach). Anything that is hanging, such as spiderwebs and streamers, is also tempting to curious cats and dogs. You should keep your pet away from these in order to prevent them from getting tangled up or choked.
There is nothing better than a candle-lit jack-o-lantern. However, open flames pose a danger. Not only could your pet start a fire if they accidentally knock over a candle, but they could also burn themselves. In order to eliminate the chances of this altogether, consider buying faux candles that are battery-operated (PetCoach).
Another illuminated hazard comes in the form of glow sticks. As the ASPCA states, “While most of them are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste and we will often see pets who bite into them drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste reaction” (ASPCA, 2016).
Make Your Pet Feel Safe
While you may love the thrills and chills of Halloween, your pet may not feel the same way. Masks and costumes, spooky decorations, and the frequent knocks and doorbell rings could really scare your pet. If your dog or cat is already nervous to begin with, you should consider placing them in a separate room away from the hubbub of activity. Not only will this keep them calm, but it will also prevent them from running away.Halloween can be a fun holiday for everyone, and with some careful planning, Halloween could become your pet’s favorite holiday.
- Bissell, Jordan. “A Vet Shares 5 Tips That’ll Make Sure Your Pet Loves Halloween Just As Much As You Do.” Elite Daily, Elite Daily, 3 Oct. 2018, .
- “How to Keep Your Dog Safe During Halloween.” Alliance of Therapy Dogs Inc., 24 May 2018.
- “How to Help Keep Your Pets Safe on Halloween.” Ask A Vet Online For Free 24/7 – PetCoach.
- “Tips on Costumes, Candy and Celebrating Safely With Your Pets This Halloween.” ASPCA, 26 Oct. 2016.