Halloween Pet Safety

Monitor pet costumes. Some have parts that can be choking hazards or cause gastrointestinal upset if a pet chews on or swallows it, and masks may obstruct vision.

Watch out for decorations. Keep pets away from burning candles, strings of lights and electrical cords. In addition to being a fire hazard, scented candles can be toxic to birds. It’s best to keep your animals away from your indoor decorations; changes to your home can make your pets, especially cats, nervous or frightened. Also dangerous: rubber eyeballs (choking risk), glow sticks and fake blood (possible poisons), fake cobwebs (can choke or entangle pets and wildlife), potpourri (toxic to birds), and strung lights.

Keep them inside. Black cats, especially, may be vulnerable to abuse from strangers at this time. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion, and a bite or lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun.

Keep them deep inside. Many dogs and cats do not like to be around strangers or the confusion of extra guests in the house. Plus, masks and costumes change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people may become frightening. It’s best to keep pets in a safe room in another part of the house and away from the front door to prevent them from darting out. If your dog likes meeting new people, use a leash when answering the door. Remember, though, that not all children may like being greeted by a dog.

Chip ‘em: In case they escape despite your best efforts, make sure that all of your pets are wearing tags with current IDs (and consider microchipping them). Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of opportunities for a pet to slip outside and disappear into the night. Proper ID will help you reunite with your lost pet.

No chocolate! Do not give candy, particularly chocolate, to pets. Chocolate can be poisonous for dogs in particular. Also dangerous: raw bread dough and yeast, onions, garlic, salt, nuts, milk, bones, grapes, raisins, Xylitol and alcohol. Be sure to keep the treats in a locked cupboard out of reach. Monitor and talk to children who may not understand that sharing Halloween treats may endanger their pets.

Watch out for plants: A number of seasonal plants are either toxic or can cause gastrointestinal upset. Place Autumn Crocus, Chrysanthemums, English Ivy, Poinsettias, Amaryllis and Yew on higher surfaces.