Halloween Pet Safety: 5 Tips & Tricks

Dog sitting on porch on Halloween

Halloween is a fun holiday filled with treats and costumes, but pets see things differently.

The trick-or-treaters and their costumes can create frightening and even dangerous situations for your cat or dog. Meanwhile, candy, such as chocolate, can be hazardous to pets.

Follow the below Halloween pet safety tips provided by trusted Purina expert Dr. Ragen McGowan, PhD to keep your dog or cat safe.


How to Keep Your Pets Safe on Halloween

1. Stay Inside

New people, strange costumes and the detour from their daily routines can make Halloween stressful for your pets. Even mild-mannered dogs or easy-going cats may find strangers in costume upsetting.

Dr. McGowan advises planning ahead in case your pet gets out. “Make sure your pets have proper identification so if something happens and they run off, it will be easy for someone to contact you. It is easy for dogs or cats to slip out of the door when trick-or-treaters arrive.”

2. Keep Candy Out of Reach

There are plenty of lists explaining which foods your dog or cat shouldn’t eat. If you’re asking yourself, “can dogs eat candy?” or “can cats eat candy?” the answer is no.

Many pet owners know chocolate is a no-no, but artificial sweeteners in some candies can also be toxic for pets. Many pet owners might not understand just how grave the consequences can be if their pets eat candy.

These could include vomiting, diarrhea and even poisoning. Even small amounts of candy can be fatal for dogs or cats, so it’s best to keep candy sealed and out of reach. If you want to celebrate with your pet, buy them specially made dog and cat treats for the occasion.

3. Prepare Your Pets

Even if you regularly host guests, odds are your doorbell never rings as much as it does on Halloween, which can be distressing for pets. To help your dog or cat feel more at ease with strangers at the door, start preparing them in advance.

“Weeks ahead of Halloween, practice with your dog to create a positive association with the doorbell. Try ringing the doorbell before entering your own house and then reward your dog for not barking when you enter. You could also invite friends over and reward your dog with treats for not barking at the doorbell,” says Dr. McGowan.

4. Keep Costumes Simple

Costumes are a fun way to celebrate, but not all pets enjoy dressing up. Pets typically don’t like costumes that restrict their movement, cause discomfort or include hats or headbands around their heads.

Instead, choose an easy-on, easy-off outfit that doesn’t constrict their head and neck. There are other Halloween pet safety considerations when it comes to costumes, like the material and whether it will cause your dog or cat to overheat.

If you want your pet to partake in the holidays, take Dr. McGowan’s advice and choose a Halloween-themed collar and leash or bandana rather than a costume.

5. Find Soothing Solutions

The above tips will help ensure that Halloween doesn’t have to be a stressful situation for pets and their owners. That said, some dogs and cats need a little more comfort than others.

If your four-legged friend seems anxious or frightened by all the sights and sounds of the holiday, there are other solutions. If your pet benefits from soothing and comforting during storms or fireworks, you may already own a calming wrap. These products apply constant compression to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in cats and dogs.

If you have a pet that has an anxious temperament who suffers from more chronic stress reactions to things in their day to day, you might consider a probiotic like Calming Care which has been proven to help reduce anxious behavior and lessen the stress response for anxious dogs. Pets given probiotic supplements can respond better to external stressors and are generally able to maintain a more positive emotional state.

Your pet’s safety is always a priority, which is why our pet experts offer their advice on our Pet Expertise page.

woman looking at phone while holding pets

Find the Best Food for Your Dog or Cat

Get your personalized pet food recommendation with the Pet Food Finder tool.