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Halloween Safety Tips For Pets

Picture of Gifford wearing his natural mask by Cindy Campbell
Picture of Gifford wearing his natural mask by Cindy Campbell

Halloween is fun for all ages, but can be scary for pets, so we have a few tips to help also make it a good holiday for your furry family members.

I love this time of year. It appeals to the more dramatic side of my personality, with the costumes and makeup. Of course the candy is always welcome! And, let’s face it, Halloween is a pretty great deal for kids. It’s the one day each year when their parents are encouraging them to get sweets, instead of taking them away.

But, for dogs and cats, it can be a pretty frightening time. They don’t understand what’s going on. So having a bunch of people in weird outfits ringing the doorbell or dancing around the house must be terrifying! We want to thank our friends at the Green Acres Kennel Shop for providing some tips to help make it a good night for the pets, as well!

Pet Halloween Contest at Old Westbury Gardens
Getty Images

Pet Halloween Costumes


I’ve never been a fan of this, personally, but I know that a lot of people get a kick out of dressing their pets up in costume for Halloween. If you plan to turn your dachshund into a hot dog or your golden doodle into a pumpkin, be sure to watch for signs of stress. If your pet freezes in place, tries to tear off the costume, or does things like yawning or tong flicking, they’re probably not enjoying the experience.

Portrait of children in Halloween costumes
Pixland, Getty Images

Halloween Parties


Imagine yourself waking up to a house full of monsters, zombies, ghosts, and witches. Not costumes, but actual monsters. Pretty scary, huh? Well that’s what your pets feel like at a Halloween party. They don’t know why these people look so weird or are making strange noises. All they know is that it looks threatening! Do your pets a favor during the party and put them in a quiet room with a TV or soft music going. Maybe load a kong or give them their favorite toy. They’ll be much happier. And your guests will be safe from a possibly panicked animal.

Children (2-8) knocking on door, trick-or-treating, rear view
Ryan McVay, ThinkStock

Open Doors & Doorbells


We all love seeing those cute little kids in their costumes on Halloween night. But, again, your pets don’t understand what’s going on. Especially if they’re like mine, who get overly excited every time the doorbell rings! So, it’s a good idea to disable the doorbell or block it from being pushed, so trick-or-treaters have to knock. And again, put the pets in that quiet room, behind a closed door, or they might bolt into the yard while you’re passing out the candy.

Dog Treats
matt_benoit, ThinkStock

Keep Dog Treats On-Hand


It’s so tempting, when the kids are going through their candy, to offer a piece to your furry family member, who’s caught up in the excitement. But the fact is, most of that stuff is toxic to your pets, including chocolate and anything with the sweetener Xylitol. So pick up some dog-friendly treats for the pets, as well, and let them join in the fun. Trust me, the dog doesn’t care if they get M&M’s or Milk Bones, as long as they’re getting something yummy!

Mother with her son and daughter in Halloween costumes
Purestock, ThinkStock

Dogs and Trick-or-Treating


Although the trip around the block with your little trick-or-treaters may seem like the perfect time to also walk the dog, it really isn’t. Again, dogs don’t know what’s going on, so all the costumes and running kids is going to either scare them or get them overly excited. If you see someone with a dog, it’s also not a good idea to go over and pet them, even if the dog knows you. They’re overly-stimulated and may not recognize you if you’re in a costume. All in all, your pets will be much happier in that quiet room with a favorite toy than taking part in the Halloween fun. Except, of course, for those treats at the end of the night!


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