Halloween is one of the spookiest nights of the year, especially for our pets. Many of the festivities that humans love – trick-or-treaters, costumes and decorations – can be scary, stressful or even dangerous for pets.
"Pet safety is always a priority for pet owners, but it needs to be especially top of mind on Halloween when the added noise and activity can give them a fright," says Dr. Scott Weinman. "I used to live on a very busy street with hundreds of trick-or-treaters, so I would put my dog and cat in a private back room away from the commotion. In my experience, any time you change a pet’s routine, it can cause them anxiety and there’s an increased risk of escape. However, there are also a few simple ’tricks’ pet owners can use to make the night safer and more enjoyable for their four-legged friends."
Keep Your Treats Out of Reach
Chocolate and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems for cats or dogs.1 If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, Dr. Weinman recommends that you "keep the wrapper and call your veterinarian, the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or HomeAgain’s 24-Hour Support Hotline (1-888-466-3242) immediately."
Create a Safe Haven
"Keep all but the most social pets in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours, so they don’t get spooked and run outside or accidentally harm a child," says Dr. Weinman.2 "You could even consider boarding your pet if you know that type of environment won’t cause added stress."
Also, be sure to keep jack-o-lanterns, wires or other decorations away from curious pets.1
Find the Perfect Costume
When looking for your pet’s costume, make sure it fits properly, doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing or movement. Remember, your cat or dog may make the cutest superhero on the block, but you should only dress them in a costume if you know they love it. If they appear uncomfortable, consider letting them wear their "birthday suit" or a festive bandana instead. 1
Unmask Their Secret Identity
Always be sure your pet is wearing proper identification. A collar with ID tags and microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet – especially during the Halloween commotion. Luckily, with a HomeAgain® microchip and pet recovery system, you’ll give your pet the best chance of coming back home to you. "Being a HomeAgain® member has many advantages that can be particularly useful during busy holidays like Halloween. I had my cat microchipped when she was spayed, so I have peace of mind knowing that if she were ever to get lost, the entire HomeAgain® network would help her find her way home," says Dr. Weinman. "It’s just important to remember to keep your contact information up-to-date and reach out to HomeAgain® immediately if your pet goes missing, so the team can ensure no time is wasted and also provide you with tools to help bring your pet home safely."
Click here to create or update your HomeAgain® pet profile today!
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Halloween Safety Tips. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/halloween-safety-tips
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). 7 Things You Can Do To Make Halloween Safer For Your Pet. https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/halloween.aspx