Halloween Safety for Pets

Halloween is a fun holiday, but should you let your pet join in the festivities? Read on for our tips on keeping your pet's Halloween happy and safe!

Trick or Treating

Should you bring your dog along with you "trick or treating"? Depends on your dog! A good candidate would be a dog who is friendly and not easily startled, used to going on walks around the neighborhood and who has good leash manners. Dogs who are not very sociable or who are easily frightened by unusual sights and sounds are best left home.

A leash is a "must", even if your dog is normally OK without one. Not only will a leash keep your dog safe from running off if he is spooked by someone's Halloween costume or decorations but it will also prevent him from being a nuisance to other trick or treaters (who may or may not like dogs!). Use a regular 4-6 foot leash, not a retractable leash, as you will have more control and it is less likely to get tangled in your/your dog's/your child's costume! Be sure the person holding the leash is strong enough to control the dog!

Halloween Treats - hidden dangers

You've probably heard that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. But did you know that's also true for a lot of other foods you might encounter in your Halloween treat bag, including raisins, Macadamia nuts and some sugar free candies? That's just to name a few! Also, foods high in fat can trigger an attack of pancreatitis - a very serious and sometimes fatal illness - in susceptible dogs.

The safest rule of thumb is: if it isn't meant for dogs (like a dog biscuit), don't feed it to your dog!

Also, the same common sense that applies to keeping your kids safe applies to dogs too. There are sadly some sick folks out there who would deliberately harm a child or a dog. Throw out anything which isn't completely wrapped in the manufacturer's packaging unless you know and trust the person it came from!

If you think your pet has eaten something harmful, contact a veterinarian immediately. Or call the toll-free Animal Poison Control Center hotline - (888) 426-4435. It's available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Answering the door

Should you greet trick-or-treaters with your pet or not? Again, it depends. If your dog loves people, is well-behaved, unlikely to be startled by a dozen little goblins shouting TRICK OR TREAT and not looking for a chance to sneak outside and run off on some wild doggy adventure, then it could be lots of fun.

Many dogs do NOT enjoy Halloween's commotion and craziness - if that's your dog, she will be much happier if you leave her in another room or in a crate until the excitment is over. Same goes for the "escape artist " types.

Dangerous decor

Jack-o-lanterns, candles, spooky lights, animated figures, artificial spider webs - all popular Halloween decorations, but ones that could also pose a danger to your pet. Keep candles, open flames and anything with hot lights out of your pets reach, along with anything that could break and shatter, fall on, trap or otherwise injure your pet. Also watch for figurines and other small items your dog could eat or choke on.

A good rule-of-thumb is that anything that isn't safe in the hands of a curious toddler isn't safe around your dog either!

Costume safety

Last but not least, dressing up your dog, cat or other pet is lots of fun, but never let your pet wear a costume unsupervised! The same goes for hats, fancy collars or decorative pet "jewelery" - t's too easy for it to get tangled up or caught on something and seriously injure your pet! Put the costume on, take the pictures, then remove it before sending your dog out to play!