Halloween is lurking around the corner, which means children and adults alike are preparing for all kinds of spooky fun. While you are putting the final touches on your costume and ensuring your home decorations give off haunted house vibes, remember to plan for your pet’s safety and wellbeing to avoid a scary Halloween pet emergency. Follow our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team’s tips to enjoying a safe, stress-free, and pet-friendly Halloween. 

#1: Protect your pet from boo-tiful but dangerous decorations

Spook-tacular decorations are a hit with trick-or-treaters. However, if you like to go all out to transform your home into a house of horrors, remember some Halloween decorations can be dangerous to your pet, including:

  • Jack-o’-lanterns and burning candles — Glowing jack-o’-lanterns add a hauntingly beautiful touch to any Halloween decor. However, a flickering flame can spell disaster for your curious pet. Dogs and cats alike are intrigued by moving lights, which pose hazards such as burns, or worse, fires. To keep your home both spooky and safe, consider using light-emitting diode (LED) candles that offer a realistic flicker without the fire hazard.
  • Electrical cords — If your pet chews an electrical cord, they can sustain a life-threatening electrical shock or burn. Keep all lighted objects well out of your pet’s reach. 
  • Glow sticks — These are popular for lighting pathways and pumpkins, but if your pet chews or ingests a glow product, they can become sick. The liquid inside is generally nontoxic but can cause your pet extreme discomfort and agitation.
  • Fake spiderwebs — Fake spiderwebs look fun to play with and bat around, but your pet may swallow the sticky mess and require emergency surgery.

#2: Keep candy cauldrons out of your pet’s reach 

Every year, countless pets end up at emergency veterinary hospitals after ingesting Halloween candy. Your Halloween candy stash is a treasure trove for trick-or-treaters but can be harmful, and in some cases, deadly for your pet. The following sweet treats pose a serious threat to your pet:

  • Chocolate Chocolate is widely recognized as being harmful to pets, but it continues to rank high on the list of commonly consumed pet toxins. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate they consume, a pet who eats it can suffer serious health consequences. Dark and bitter chocolates are the most dangerous, including baking chocolate, cocoa powder, and unsweetened chocolate chips. Pets’ common chocolate toxicity signs include:
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Agitation or nervousness
    • Increased heart rate
    • Panting
    • Pacing
    • Tremors or seizures
  • Sugar-free candy — Sugar-free candies, gums, and mints often contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is highly toxic to pets, particularly dogs. When ingested, xylitol triggers a dog’s pancreas to release a large amount of insulin, causing a severe blood sugar drop, and in some cases, severe liver failure.
  • Candy wrappers — In addition to candy being harmful to pets, the wrappers are equally enticing and potentially hazardous. If ingested, a candy wrapper can become a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage that may require surgical intervention.

Secure your candy stash in a cabinet or out of those prying paws’ reach. However, if your pet manages a Halloween candy heist, contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, or the Pet Poison Hotline

#3: Avoid a pet costume catastrophe 

Pets in costumes are the epitome of Halloween cuteness, but before you go all out, ensure your pet is comfortable. If your costumed pet shows stress signs, remove the garment immediately. However, if your pet tolerates their costume, ensure it does not restrict their movement or breathing, block their vision, or contain small, ingestible parts. A quick and stress-free dress rehearsal a few days before Halloween can help you gauge whether your pet is ready for their costumed close-up.

#4: Prevent your pet from getting loose 

While you might be excited to greet the trick-or-treaters who come to your door, loud crowds and people dressed in strange costumes can startle your pet. Your panicked pet may bolt out the open door. To ensure your pet cannot escape, set up a gate to keep them away from the front door or give them a quiet room in which they can chill out. However, should your pet go missing, you help ensure their return by providing them with the proper identification: 

  • Check your pet’s collar and tags — Ensure your pet’s collar is secure and your contact information is up-to-date on their identification (ID) tags.
  • Microchip your pet — Microchipping is a simple procedure that provides pets with permanent identification. The tiny chip allows veterinarians and pet shelter employees to access your contact information if they find your pet. If your pet is already microchipped, ensure your contact information in the registry’s database is accurate.

By taking precautions, you can ensure that your pet’s Halloween is a treat and not an unexpected trick gone wrong. Contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team to have your pet microchipped, and enjoy a frightfully fun—and safe—Halloween!