Halloween Safety and Your Pet


Fall is in the air, leaves are changing color and decorating the ground, and pumpkin carving is upon us! Halloween is on its way, and thoughts of candy, costumes, and frivolity are on our minds, however Fido might think otherwise. Here are some tips to help your pet have a safe and happy Halloween.Halloween dog

Being as dogs and cats have much more sensitive hearing than us, they may not appreciate the doorbell ringing, knocking, and hollering of “trick or treat”. If loud noises induce stress or anxiety in your pet, try to make their evening as pleasant as possible by ensuring they are in a quiet, safe, comfortable place with some ambient music playing or a companion(human or otherwise) for reassurance.

The change in routine may be worrisome for a dog or cat. A constant flow of strangers at the door could raise the “territorial” instincts in some and cause unwanted aggression. In addition, some costumes are downright terrifying and can bring out a fear response or a defensive attitude. If any signs of aggression are noted, the pet should be removed from the situation immediately to avoid any unpleasant experiences for the “scary” little visitors at your door. Keep in mind some children are allergic to pets and may not appreciate a hairy, four legged greeting party!

With the door opening and closing a lot more than usual, along with the hubbub of kids, costumes and candy, some dogs and cats see this as an escape route and sneak away into the night. Proper identification is important in the event the great escape is a success. Cats are particularly prone to encountering trouble on this evening, so a good idea to keep them inside. If your dog doesn’t fancy the kid’s costumes, walkthemat a time when there are less ghoulies roaming about.

Curious noses may find the new and inviting smells of chocolate and candy quite intriguing, as well as the crinkly wrappers a fun toy to chew on. Chocolate can be toxic to pets, as well as products with Xylitol (artificial sweetener). Wrappers can cause upset stomachs, choking, or obstruction. Take care to keep all candy up and out of reach of our shorter, multi-legged roommates.Samurai Dog

Dressing up your pet for the holiday can be fun (and quite hilarious), keeping in mind some pets like it, and some find it very stressful. If your pet does not enjoy wearing that hot dog costume, include them in the festivities by giving them a new pumpkin stuffy to play with, or some fun treats from your local veterinary clinic or pet store. If your pet is sporting the latest Halloween fashion, be sure to always supervise as an entangled pet could become injured.

Candles are often an enjoyable part of Halloween decorating, keeping in mind although your pet may not be aware of candle safety. Keep candles out of reach of pets, and covered should your cat be enjoying the view from your tables and counters!

With a little extra caution and remembering to “set them up for success”, animals and people alike can enjoy a happy and safe Halloween!


Happy Halloween


Dr. Foster has over 19 years of experience practicing Veterinary Medicine and is the owner of MacTaggart Veterinary Clinic in southwest Edmonton.

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