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Howl-O-Ween Pet Safety Tips

A black kitten sits in front of pumpkins placed on an orange backdrop.

As spooky season approaches, it’s easy to get carried away with all the tricks and treats, but pet owners should remember that Halloween can be a stressful time for their furry friends. Follow these pet safety tips to keep your familiars, hellhounds, and riff-raff secure and delighted during this festive time of year.

Know which holiday treats are safe for your pet and which are not:

Keep pets away from anything containing chocolate or xylitol (sometimes called “birch sugar”), which is a popular ingredient in sugar-free candy. Don’t allow children to store their Halloween candy stash in their room, as pets have very strong noses and can likely find even the most carefully hidden treats. Keep candy up high and stored securely out of paws reach.

Loud noises and spooky animatronics can be scary for pets:

Don’t put up decorations that put your pets at unease in locations where they will routinely come across them. A piece of decor which makes loud noises or moves unexpectedly and jarringly could cause pets to panic and hurt themselves or others. Also, avoid taking pets to areas where these types of decorations are present, such as local Halloween displays.

A scary looking skeleton ghost dangles from a front porch with cobwebs around it.

Don’t leave pets outdoors and unattended on Halloween night:

With all the hustle and bustle that is typical on Halloween night, it is dangerous to leave pets out in the yard without supervision. Aside from this being a stressful commotion for animals overall, sometimes the “trick” part of Halloween gets out of hand, and pets are frightened, injured, or worse by overzealous trick-or-treaters.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to have a safe space set up indoors where your pet is away from the revolving door of trick-or-treaters. This can help stop pets from becoming overstimulated and from running out of the open front door.

A little girl in a blue princess costume reaches out to pet a large golden colored dog in a yard with halloween decorations.

Make sure pets have microchips and ID tags:

Should your pet be startled, they may react by running away from whatever startled them. In case of an escape, make sure all your animals have microchips and ID tags with up-to-date and accurate information. An often looked-over pet safety tip, this is an easy one to help reunite you with your pet should they get lost.

Keep pets away from jack-o-lanterns, candles, and glow sticks:

Pets can potentially burn themselves on candles used to light jack-o-lanterns and other decorations, or they could tip them over and cause a fire. Glow sticks, though typically non-toxic, have a bitter taste which may cause a negative reaction by any pets who decide to chomp on them.

A small black dog with a snaggle tooth sits next to a jack o lantern wearing a halloween sweater.

Know your pet before deciding to put them into a costume:

While some pets don’t mind dressing up for Halloween, for many, it can be an experience that causes undue stress and even injury. “Pets should never be in a situation where they are uncomfortable or fearful as that can create a situation where the pet has to protect themselves by growling or biting,” said Anjela Sullenger, HSU’s behavior and training manager. Don’t force your pet into a costume if they seem uncomfortable or nervous. There are plenty of other ways for them to celebrate the holiday!

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