5 Important Tips for Keeping Pets Safe on Halloween

Both the young and old celebrate Halloween with great enthusiasm. Halloween parties, pumpkin carving parties, and community bonfires dot our October calendars. It is only natural that we include the family pets in all of the Halloween festivities—otherwise Fluffy and Spot spend many October weekends alone. While Halloween is a lot of fun, the holiday also poses some serious risks to beloved family pets. What are a few valuable tips that you should remember to keep pets safe this Halloween?

Let pets skip the neighborhood trick or treat circuit. We all know that your dog is absolutely adorable in his bumble bee costume. However, taking the pets out for trick-or-treating is not the safest option for your pets or neighborhood children. The sights, sounds and activities of Halloween’s Beggar’s Night sometimes frighten and excite animals. Even usually docile dogs and cats may jump onto costumed children or bite or scratch them out of fear. Let your pet watch the merriment from the safety of your home and save the costume display for personal parties and smaller activities.

Keep your pets securely indoors during Halloween night and Trick or Treat festivities. Try to keep your pets safely secured indoors or supervised during busy Halloween events. Frightened pets may jump out of an open door or vehicle or even run away and hide during loud, outdoor parties. Additionally, unsavory tricksters abound during Halloween, and it would be horrible to lose a family pet to a dangerous trick or prank.

Nix the door jumping risks during trick or treat. Rather than allowing children to ring the doorbell for every treat, set-up your treat station outside for the evening. Our dogs always hated the sound of the doorbell—and became overly excited at the sound of new voices. Our cats hide for the entire evening. It was all too common for our Pomeranian to escape from his gated room and dart out onto the sidewalk—sometimes snapping and barking. Moving the activity to the end of the driveway helps shelter the animals from some of the commotion, which our cats appreciated. It also helps us avoid chasing our canine escapees!

Make sure that your pet’s identification information is up to date. Our old Pomeranian was an accomplished escape artist. Without his identification tags and microchip, we would have lost him numerous times over his 16 years. Make sure that your pets’ identification tags hold updated contact information and that microchip details remain current. Sometimes a well meaning trick or treat parent may pick up your pet to keep him safe. It is vital that they have up to date information to return him to you.

Protect family pets from Halloween candy. While chocolate and other candy ingredients are harmful to your pet’s health, shiny, crinkly, candy wrappers also pose risks. Keep trick or treat candy securely out of your pets’ reach. We often fill a giant witch’s cauldron with candy during the week before trick or treat night—and secure it with a lid to keep our pets from getting into trouble. Our daughters store candy in a cabinet and take proper care in avoiding loose wrappers or misplaced candies. With a little extra planning, you can ensure that your furry friends have a safe and healthy Halloween too!  

This is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Yahoo Pets via the now defunct Yahoo Voices a few years ago.

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