Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn't have to be tricky. While most of your pets won't be doing the trick or treating, there are still several safety hazards that coincide with Halloween. When it comes to keeping your pets safe now until the actual holiday on the 31st, these are some things that you need to know.
Stash the Treats
While we prepare for the trick or treaters, we can't help but start the party a bit sooner by breaking into the treats early. Whether the candy bowl is out now or on the 31st, remember to keep it out of your pet's reach. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can cause serious problems in pets.
Watch the Decorations
While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.
Be Careful with Costumes
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
Keep Pets Calm and Easily Identifiable
Halloween brings strangers to the door very often and that doorbell may be ringing more than your pet is used to. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet it wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.