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Happy Howl-oween: Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Updated on October 12, 2010

It's that time of year again when children, adults, and pets alike don their costumes and roam about the neighborhood in search of tricks and treats (mostly treats, though!). If you are a parent, no doubt you have brushed up on safety for you and your child during trick-or-treating hours. However, if you are a pet owner, their safety is also important to consider during this festive time.


Under no circumstances should your cat or dog be allowed to ingest chocolate. Even a small amount can have fatal consequences. Make sure that big bowl of tempting treats only goes to human children, not your furry friends. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion include increased heart rate, urination, and thirst, hyperactivity, vomiting, and diarrhea. The wrappers can also pose a choking hazard to your animal should he get his paws on a piece or two.


Make sure any lighted decor cords are safely out of the reach of your pet so that there is no hazard of electrocution. Be sure pets cannot get to crepe paper streamers. Traditional Halloween veggies, such as pumpkins and corn, are generally not known to be toxic to animals, but don't let Fido munch on them. Large pieces can cause choking or intestinal blockage. Upset stomachs may also happen if ingestion occurs. Also, if you plan to have a carved pumpkin out as a decoration, think twice about placing a candle inside. Animals running past may accidentally knock it over and cause a fire to start. Curious puppies or kittens run the risk of being burned by the flames. Opt for a flameless candle instead.


If you decide to put your pet in a costume, be sure it fits properly and that it does not impede your animal's ability to breathe, bark/meow, hear, or move. If they seem distressed or uncomfortable in the costume, don't force them to wear it. One tip is to try the costume on your dog or cat the day before Halloween to ensure fit and comfort. Some pets really do love to be in costume, and others couldn't care less for it. See where your pet stands and adjust accordingly.

Trick or Treat:

Unless your animal is incredibly social, keep him or her away from the front door in a quieter room during peak trick-or-treating hours. The same goes for trick-or-treating. The large number of strangers dressed in odd fashions and the loud, unexpected noises are usually too stressful for most pets to deal with for very long. Be sure your dog or cat does not bolt out of the door when you open it for the trick-or-treaters. Also remember that while mean tricksters are always a bit of a threat, there is a great deal more mischief going on during Halloween. Keep a close eye on your pets (preferably indoors) to ensure no pranks are pulled on them.

Here's hoping that you and yours have a very happy and safe Howl-oween!


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    • TURNELBUP profile image

      TURNELBUP 7 years ago from New York City

      Great Hub, very informative! I have heard of pets encountering peril during Halloween if they're left outdoors. I always keep my cats inside during the Halloween season, especially the black one! :)