Keep furry friends safe this Halloween

Halloween can be tons of fun for everyone, but it can also be frightening or dangerous for your pets. With strangers in costumes coming to your door or roaming around the neighborhood, candies that can be toxic for animals, and pranksters running amok, there are many reasons for you to take precautions to ensure your pets’ safety and comfort this holiday. Check out these tips:

1. People in costumes – The biggest part of Halloween fun is dressing up, but it may not be so enjoyable for your pets. Some animals get scared and confused when they see people in costumes… hats, wigs, makeup, and props can all trigger an animal. That fear can result in pets growling, biting, or even running away. One of my own children came out in a hat the other day and it startled our normally calm and loving dog enough to make her growl at him. If a pet can have this reaction to someone she knows and loves, simply because he is wearing a hat, imagine how they must feel when they come upon a stranger dressed like a grim reaper or werewolf.

2. Pet costumes - We have all seen pets in adorable, funny costumes for Halloween. I love it, and my dog enjoys dressing up and going trick-or-treating with us as well. Not all pets have the same fondness for it though. If you want to dress up your pets, make sure the outfits are comfortable and safe. They should not be too tight or have pieces that your animal may chew and swallow. And, make sure your pet is not annoyed by the costume. If they hate it, it is probably best to accept it and not make your pet miserable for the entire night.

3. Candy – Oh, candy! So much candy! While we love it, most of it is not safe for your pets. Chocolate, in particular, is a stimulant which can be dangerous to animals, even in small amounts. No animals need to overload on sugary treats, in general. There are also some types of sugar-free candies and gum that contain Xylitol, which can cause liver failure in pets, among other issues. The wrappers to all these candies can also cause major problems if your pet swallows them, so it is best to keep all of it out of reach.

4. Keeping your pet contained – Animals that get scared will often act out of character. Your pet may normally stay in the yard or house, but if they get spooked, pets may run away and hide. Halloween can also be a dangerous time for pets to be outside because not everyone loves pets the way that you do. Sometimes they can become the victims of a prank, or they could even be stolen. It is best to keep pets inside, unless you are with them, and to make sure if you do take them trick-or-treating, that they have on proper identification. Just in case they do get loose, you will want to make it easy for whomever finds them to get a hold of you to return them.

5. Pumpkins and decorations – Like candy and costumes, pumpkins and decorations can present problems if pets ingest them. Pumpkin can be fine in small amounts for animals, but too much is not a good thing, and moldy pumpkins could be especially unhealthy. Decorations, like costumes, may have small parts or plastic pieces that are not safe to eat. Also ensure that animals cannot get wrapped up in any artificial spiderwebs or strings.

6. Glow sticks and candles – Glow sticks may attract your pet, but if they chew on them, they will be in for an unpleasant surprise. Glow sticks are generally non-toxic, and say so on the package, but they still will not taste good if an animal bites into them. Candles, of course, should be kept out of reach of pets and put out before leaving the house or going to sleep at night.

For more information about pet safety on Halloween, go to

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