Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Halloween can be a dangerous holiday for pets — here’s how to keep them safe

It’s Halloween! The house looks suitably haunted, everyone’s running around in their costume, and the candy bowl’s waiting at the front door. You’ve checked everything off your list. Until you notice your dog sniffing around the candy bowl and your cat swatting a candle on the table. Everyone loves this autumn holiday, but it’s also important to keep these Halloween safety tips for pets in the back of your mind.

Halloween tricks NOT treats

black-chocolate-labrador-pumpkin-safety-tips-halloween
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You know you need to check through your children’s candy bags. But what about securing Halloween treats out of the reach of cats and dogs? While safe for kids’ tummies (in moderation), the following familiar Halloween treats pose hazards to your pets:

  • Chocolate (the darker, the worse it gets)
  • Sugar-free treats (they contain Xylitol)
  • Candy wrappers

Keep all of the candy out of the reach of curious noses and paws. Make sure you have a quick chat with your kiddos about the importance of NOT sharing their Halloween haul with their four-legged friends, too.

If you suspect a pet’s ingested some Halloween candy, get in touch with the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435). Providing the type of treat, amount, and the weight of your pet will allow them to determine whether you need to seek further veterinary care.

Haunted houses

Half the fun of Halloween is setting up all of your favorite decorations. Some of that decor can present concerns for your pets, though. Even items rated as non-toxic have the potential to lead to a miserable evening for your cat or dog. In the interest of keeping everyone happy and safe, run a critical eye over your decorations before you set them out.

  • Candles: Flickering flames are too much for some cats to resist. If they’re crucial to your theme, try to find battery-operated alternatives.
  • Corncobs: Dried corncobs scream “fall.” When ingested, though, they scream “foreign body.” Keep them out of reach.
  • Fake spiders: Your cat is your champion at pest control. They don’t know those spiders are fake, and they end up entangled in the artificial web.
  • Glowsticks: The liquid inside of a glowstick isn’t toxic, but it tastes terrible! You don’t want your poor cat or dog drooling in the corner.
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin doesn’t bother cats or dogs. You might even add it to their food now and then. But a carved pumpkin that’s been sitting on the porch for a while? It’s starting to mold You don’t want anyone chewing on that.

Be smart about your decoration choices and placement. Keep items out of the reach of your pets. Or, better yet, swap out your usual decor for pet-friendly options. There are several reasons why cats love cardboard boxes so much, which is why it’d be a good idea to create a haunted house out of it for your cat to enjoy. Use paper to make your spiderwebs. They may not look the same, but it’ll ensure your pet’s safety.

Ghouls and goblins

Check all Halloween decorations for pet safety
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Your pets know all of the neighborhood kids. Your dog visits with everyone on their regular walks. Your cat sees the children walking to and from school each day. Except on Halloween. Halloween night, the kids look and smell different. They’re wearing costumes and makeup. That’s frightening for your pets.

Set up a separate room for your pets where they’ll feel safe. You don’t want your feline and canine companions to get stressed. Also consider the dog crate’s location at home, and make sure it is positioned in a stress-free, comforting environment. Your dog may feel safest in it, or a pen they know belongs to them. It’s a relaxing retreat.

You may want to use Feliway for your cats. The natural pheromones promote relaxation.

If your dog gets nervous with people coming to the door, Premium Care Calming Treats for Dogs can help ease that anxiety.

Rather than heightening your pets’ panic with knocking and ringing doorbells, consider sitting outside to hand out your Halloween treats. Give your pets their favorite toys, lower the lights in their room, and set up soothing music inside. You’ll ease the stress over those scary monsters approaching the door.

“Identification, please”

It’s tempting to take your dog trick-or-treating. However, Halloween safety tip for pets #4 is to keep your pets (all of your pets) safe and sound inside. Halloween’s a rough time for pets. There’s a lot of activity going on with children running around and yelling. It’s too much stimulation for most pets, and that safe nest inside is the best location. You don’t want your dog to accidentally pull loose on their leash and dive into the melee.

Make sure your pets have their current identification on their collar or harness. If they have microchips, double check that you’ve updated your information. Halloween is one of those nights when animals panic and bolt through the door. That current ID helps reassure they return home to you, safe and sound.

Happy, safe Halloween!

Halloween safety tips for pets help ensure EVERYONE has a wonderful holiday. Whether your dog and cat join in with costumes or watch a movie in the back room, you want everyone as comfortable as possible. So run a quick eye over your preparations to check for anything you might have overlooked.

Stay safe out there!

Meanwhile, if you are considering getting dog shoes for winter, read on further to learn everything you need to know about it – and whether it is necessary in the first place.

Andria Kennedy
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Andria's work has appeared in BoneandYarn.com and the Bidwell Hollow Literary Newsletter. When she's not writing about pets…
How to find the right veterinarian for your pet
Getting your pet the best medical care will improve and prolong their life
Veterinarian examining cat while little boy watches

Taking your dog or cat to the vet might cause you some anxiety, especially if you're doing so for the first time. Trust us, it makes pet ownership so much more enjoyable when you have an animal doctor that both of you like. Choosing the right veterinarian for your beloved companions may not be easy, but it's certainly worth it — you'll have a better time caring for your animals, and they will stick around longer with excellent medical attention. Here's how to choose a vet.
When should I look for a vet?

We hate to add to your checklist, but you probably want to look at vets before you even bring home a dog or cat. It can take time and lots of phone calls to different places before you figure out the right fit — meaning a practice that suits your needs and budget and has availability.

Read more
Are Himalayan dog chews safe for your pet? Know this before you buy
These dogs treats are still trendy but should probably be eaten in moderation
A close-up shot of a pug standing in the grass with a bone-shaped treat in his mouth

What do blueberries, kale, and broccoli all have in common? In addition to being delicious, all three are part of the group of so-called superfoods. Unfortunately, there's no federally regulated definition for the term, but Harvard scientists claim food that "offers high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value" can be labeled superfoods. 

Just like you might add chia seeds to your granola or spirulina powder to your smoothies for additional vitamins and minerals, you also want to make sure your dog's food and treats pack a beneficial wallop. Made famous on Shark Tank, Himalayan dog chews have become one of the most hotly debated treats in the pet food game, which begs the question, "Are Himalayan dog chews as healthy as some people think?"

Read more
The best ways to pet your dog to show them how much you care
There's a right way to pet your dog. Here's what you need to know
A man's hand pets the head of a shepherd dog

There are a hundred ways to make a dog happy, from delicious treats to epic playtime. Pets, scratches, and belly rubs almost always make the top of the list, too  -- but did you know there are particular ways to pet your dog to show them how much you love them?
In this article, you’ll learn how to pet your dog -- what tricks and techniques to use to relax them, what spots to avoid, and how to keep everyone comfy and happy. Of course, every dog has their own likes and dislikes, so it’s important to pay attention to your fur baby’s body language and behavior during your massage sessions.
This is what you need to know.

How to pet your dog to show them you love them
In general, most pups are just happy to get some attention from their favorite person, but there are a few specific things you can do to make your next pamper sesh a little more special.

Read more