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Hot dog!

Virtually everything we love about Halloween – candy, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and the party atmosphere, can become a source of fear or harm to our pets.  Because pets are such integral members of our families, we should ensure that the holiday is as safe and fun for them as it is for us.  Let’s keep our pet’s safety and comfort in mind by making the following considerations:

  • Keep pets away from candies that are potentially toxic. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats and the effects of consuming it can range from mild upset stomachs to collapse from cardiac arrest if it is consumed.  Candies that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol (gummies, marshmallows, taffy) are also toxic.  Candies wrapped in aluminum foil or cellophane can present a choking hazard.
  • Secure jack-o-lanterns and open candles to prevent burn injuries or fires. Tape down electrical cords to keep pets from shock or electrocution hazards.
  • If your pet will be wearing a costume, make sure he or she enjoys it. Make sure the costume doesn’t restrict breathing, movement, vision, hearing or the ability to bark.  Avoid dangling pieces (strings, ribbons, etc.) that the pet could chew or swallow.  A reflective element to the costume is a plus as is a secure leash when out and about.
  • If your pet doesn’t like a lot of excitement, make sure he or she has a safe place away from the noise and commotion.
  • Make sure your pets are safely away from the door so they won’t be startled and bolt out open doors when trick-or-treaters arrive. Make sure your pet is microchipped and has ID tags on its collar.

Prepare your pet and your home for trick-or-treaters or a house party with these additional considerations:

  • Set aside exercise or play time with your pet. This will relax your pet and lessen the anxiety associated with the noise and commotion.
  • If you’re having a party, keep the guest list short. If the festivities include children, make sure your pet is at ease with kids and that the interactions between kids and pets are appropriate and always supervised.  This means no pulling ears, tails or fur – gentle stroking only, please.  Conversely, your pet shouldn’t run wildly among children or get underfoot.    Be sure to watch for signs of fatigue and remove your pet from the situation before this happens.  Even gentle pets may snap if they become over-stressed.
  • While we can’t ban all foods from the party, if you’re not sure if certain foods are safe for pets don’t include them on the menu. In general, keep adult foods away but provide your pet’s favorite treat. 


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