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Five Tips to Help You (and Your Pets) Have a Safe and Happy Halloween

There’s something special about Halloween—it’s the one day a year you get to dress up as anything you like and go around begging for candy. But as fun as Halloween is for people, it can be stressful or even dangerous for pets. So before you carve up the pumpkins or grab the perfect costume, check out this list we put together to help you safely and happily enjoy the spookiest of holidays with your four-legged friends.

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1.     Watch what they eat.

As fun as it is to go around the neighborhood asking for candy on Halloween night, it’s important to keep your haul away from your pets. Chocolate may be delicious for you and me, but it’s highly toxic for cats and dogs. In fact, just a small amount of chocolate can cause serious illness, or even death. Even candy not made of chocolate can be dangerous, as they may cause a choking hazard should your pet try to ingest them. 

Additionally, while not nearly as dangerous as chocolate, pumpkin and other Halloween plants can be dangerous for pets—while they are widely considered to be nontoxic, eating pumpkin can cause stomach upset and intestinal blockage.

2.     Watch what they do.

If your pets are anything like my pets, they love getting into trouble, and while their shenanigans may be funny, at a certain point they can become dangerous. Therefore, it’s always best to keep decorations and wires out of reach of your pets. And it’s particularly important to exercise extreme caution when putting out jack-o-lanterns with live candles, as curious pets may want to investigate, leading to a possible injury or fire.

3.     Watch where they go. 

As fun as Halloween is for you and me, it can be equally stressful for pets, causing some to act aggressively, hide, or even flea. Therefore, it’s smart to keep pets in a separate room away from all the action, until your visitors stop coming. For particularly nervous pets, it may make sense to give them a calming supplement, or put them in an Anxiety-Reducing Shirt before the doorbell starts ringing.

For those of you with outdoor cats, it may make sense to keep them close on Halloween. With all the increased foot traffic, they may become anxious or get hurt, and some cats (especially black cats) may fall victim to dangerous, nefarious pranks. If you choose to bring your pet with you trick-or-treating, make sure you bring a high-quality lead to keep them from getting away.

In the event that your pet does get out Halloween night, it’s smart to make sure they have an up-to-date ID tag on their collar before the first of the trick-or-treaters arrive. That way, if they make a break for it, they can quickly be identified and returned home safe and sound.

4.     Exercise caution with costumes.

Who DOESN’T love dressing up their pets in adorable costumes for Halloween? But as with everything else, it’s important to be careful when doing so. It may take your pet some time to adjust to their costume, and that’s OK—it’s probably best to put them in their costume before Halloween so they have a chance to get used to it. However, it’s important to make sure that any costume you put on your pet fits properly, and that it isn’t annoying to them or unsafe. And costumes with small, dangling, or chewable pieces can present a choking hazard, so it may be best to avoid those types of costumes all together.

5.     Have fun! 

As important as it is to be mindful of the safety of you and your pets, it’s also important to enjoy yourself—once you make sure you and your pets are as safe as can be, go out there and enjoy the witching hour! Happy Halloween!

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