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.