Halloween is filled with tempting decorations, tasty candy treats, loud noises, and creative costumes, and can be stressful for pets. Help ensure your entire family enjoys Halloween by including your pet in your holiday plans. Here are seven tips from Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital to keep your pet safe and reduce their stress during the holiday.

#1: Pet identification is essential

Holiday activities create more opportunities for your pet to scoot out the door. Halloween is the beginning of the fall and winter holiday season, so now is the perfect time to update your pet’s identification with a name tag and/or microchip. 

#2: Decorate with your pet in mind

Try to see your Halloween decorations from your pet’s perspective. Are fake spider webs a complex toy to get tangled up in? Are glow sticks, corn cobs, rubber eyeballs, or phony spiders great chew toys? Does a jack-o-lantern taste delicious? Can real candles be knocked over? Is that Halloween decoration’s extension cord a new play toy? Unfortunately, your pet may seek their own answers to these questions, so keeping such decorations safely out of paws’ reach is essential. 

#3: Hide treats from your pet

Choose a place in advance to store your candy that will be inaccessible to your pet. Chocolate is toxic to all pets, including birds, because animals don’t metabolize theobromine the same way as humans. Chocolate toxicity signs include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, and seizures. Raisins can cause kidney failure in your pet, so check for boxes of raisins that health-conscious neighbors may hand out. Sugar-free candy or gum with xylitol will dangerously decrease your pet’s blood glucose levels, and signs can include vomiting, lethargy, staggering, and collapse. Candy wrappers and sticks may look attractive to your pet, but can cause intestinal blockages. If you suspect your pet has ingested Halloween treats, call Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital or the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline at 888-426-4435 immediately.  

#4: Keep your pet in a safe space

Bring your pet inside on Halloween Eve, and keep them in a secure place, hidden from the monsters and scary noises. Then, you can relax knowing that your potential escape artist is safe and at home. Also, keep your bird away from the front windows, so Halloween revelers won’t be tempted to tap on the glass. Remember that Halloween is especially unsafe for black cats, who often become the victims of malicious pranks. 

#5: Create a pet-friendly atmosphere

Make your pet’s safe space a relaxing and stress-free environment. The space can include treats, toys, water, a comfortable bed, a litter box for the cat, and perhaps a food puzzle. Try playing music, or turn on the television to provide constant sound. Also, products such as Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats can be used to provide a greater sense of well-being. If your pet has a history of stress or anxiety during the holiday, check with us for calming medications. 

#6: Pet costume conundrum

Does your pet like to dress up? Some pets do, but others make clear that a costume is not for them. If you do dress your pet, the costume needs to be the right size, allow for good movement, and have no strings or buttons that can be eaten. Pets in costumes should always be supervised to ensure they don’t get tangled in, or chew on, their attire.

#7: Trick-or-treating with your pet

This is a night of loud noises, eerie outdoor decorations, and roaming costumed children, so pets who are mellow and love kids can still become frightened. If you plan on trick-or-treating with your pet, keep them close with a snug collar or harness, and a leash. Consider a light-reflective vest to keep your pet visible in the dark. 

The team at Kennedy Heights Animal and Bird Hospital wishes you all a Happy Halloween. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help making the holiday safer and less stressful for your pet.