Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, especially for our pets, but keeping them safe doesn’t have to be scary. Take these simple steps to keep your pet happy and healthy during spooky season.
Hide the candy bowl
The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters, not Scruffy or Fluffy. 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. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline® at 800-213-6680 immediately*. If you have a policy with Pets Plus Us, this call is free as part of our Blue Ribbon Benefits*. Please log on to your portal account for the no-charge members only phone number.
Carve out some time for pet-proofing
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.
The trick with costumes
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. We recommend you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know they love it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit their 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.
Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If they seem distressed or show abnormal behaviour, consider letting your pet wear their “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.
Too cute to spook
Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors arriving at the door and too many strangers especially in costumes can often be scary and stressful for pets. 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 is 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.