While Halloween brings most of us frightful family fun, many of our pets think otherwise. With costumes, doorbells, and candy galore, pet owners often are unsure about keeping their pets safe and stress-free on this ghoulish holiday. Our guide can help you navigate some tricky Halloween scenarios. 

Question: Can I dress my pet in a costume?

Answer: Resisting the adorable pet costumes that fill the stores these days is hard. From teddy bears to tacos, there is a style for every pet and pet owner. While dressing your pet in a costume may seem like good-natured fun, you need to take a few precautions:

  • Ensure the costume fits properly and isn’t too snug or too loose on your pet.
  • Ensure the costume has no bulky, dangling, or protruding attachments that could become tangled on your pet or caught on surrounding furniture.
  • Do not choose a costume that hinders your pet’s ability to breathe, see, hear, move, or vocalize properly.
  • Ensure your pet will tolerate the outfit—a seemingly perfect costume that your pet refuses to wear is useless. 

Q: I know I shouldn’t feed my pet chocolate, but should I also be cautious of other candies?

A: Many treats, including gum, hard candies, lollipops, and baked goods, contain the sugar substitute, xylitol. While xylitol is typically safe for humans, it may cause dangerously low blood-sugar levels in pets. When a pet ingests xylitol, her insulin release may spike, leading to hypoglycemia, and she may suffer from vomiting, lethargy, incoordination, seizures, and liver damage. Ensure your pet’s safety this Halloween by keeping all candies out of paws’ reach and instructing children where to store their candy.

Q: My dog hates the doorbell. How can I reduce his stress level on Halloween night?

A: Many pets go berserk when the doorbell rings, or they see someone approaching their house. Come Halloween night, these pets may become positively terrified. If your pet will be home this Halloween and you are expecting trick-or-treaters, consider these options: 

  • Set up a quiet, comfortable space for your pet, away from the chaos. Provide some bedding, his favorite toys, a long-lasting treat to keep him content and distracted, and possibly some light music or television to mask some of the noise.
  • Consider boarding your pet at The Pet Resort, where we can provide a safe, fright-free place for him to rest in a secluded spot away from the festivities. If your pet has never boarded with us, stop in for a tour and perhaps set up a practice stay to familiarize your pet with our facility prior to Halloween night.

Q: Can I take my dog trick-or-treating?

A: While it may sound fun to parade around the neighborhood with your costumed pooch, taking your pet out on Halloween isn’t wise, because he may be overwhelmed by the scary masks and glowing lights, and become a flight risk.

If you must take your furry friend with you on Halloween night, ensure he is leashed at all times with a secure, properly fitted collar and identification tag. Also, consider microchipping, which is a safe, reliable way to increase the likelihood that your pet will be returned home should he escape. Contact one of our veterinary hospitals for a microchipping appointment. 

Q: Do I need to worry about my pet being around pumpkins?

A: Pumpkins are not typically toxic to pets, but you should keep these gourds out of reach if your pet is prone to chewing, because eating raw pumpkin may cause gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. Jack-o’-lanterns can pose a serious fire hazard, especially with the combination of costumes, crowds, and other decorations nearby. Also, keep candlelit pumpkins outdoors and away from pets. 

To ensure Halloween night is enjoyable for all, involve your pet only as much as he is willing to participate. If you are considering boarding your pet for the big day, contact us to set up an appointment.