Halloween is a fun holiday filled with treats and costumes, but pets see things differently. The candy, trick-or-treaters and alarming costumes can create frightening and even dangerous situations for your cat or dog. Follow our Halloween pet safety tips from trusted Purina experts and veterinarians, Dr. Marty Becker and Dr. Ragen McGowan to keep your dog or cat safe.
1. STAY INSIDE
The people, the costumes and the detour from daily routines makes Halloween less enjoyable for our pets. Even mild-mannered dogs may find strangers in costume upsetting. Indoor and outdoor cats alike may also be frightened and could even suffer harm. Dr. McGowan advises planning ahead, just in case your pet gets out. “Make sure your pets have proper identification so if something happens and they’re found later, you can be contacted.”
2. KEEP CANDY OUT OF REACH
There are plenty of lists explaining which foods your dog or cat shouldn’t eat, but they frequently leave off candy. Many pet parents know chocolate is a big no-no, but they fail to understand just how grave the consequences are if their pet eats candy, which could include vomiting, diarrhea and even poisoning. Even small amounts can be fatal, so it’s best to keep candy sealed and out of reach. If you want to celebrate with your pet, follow Dr. Becker’s Halloween pet safety tip and buy them specially made dog or cat treats for the occasion.
3. PREPARE THEM
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 pet 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. Dr. Becker says, “Pets typically don’t like costumes with elastic on top of the head or around the neck.” 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 holiday, take Dr. McGowan’s advice and choose a Halloween-themed collar and leash rather than a costume.
5. FIND SOOTHING SOLUTIONS
The above tips may help most pets, but 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 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. Dr. Becker also encourages pet parents to talk with their veterinarian about prescription products “to keep pets calm during hectic activities like Halloween.”
We know your pet’s safety is always a priority, which is why our experts have provided these Halloween pet safety tips, in addition to an array of other tips to keep your dogs and cats healthy. If you want to buy your pet a special treat so they’re included in your celebrations, explore our dog and cat treats.