5 tips to keep your pet safe this Halloween

It’s officially October now which means Halloween is just around the corner. For many, it’s the most fun holiday of the year.

Many pet parents even dress up their dogs in fancy or scary Halloween costumes. While Halloween is supposed to be a bit “scary” (but fun), dogs and cats can experience this holiday a lot differently than us humans.

The candy, trick-or-treaters and costumes can create frightening and even dangerous situations for our furry four-legged friends.

Now, Purina experts and veterinarians, Dr Marty Becker and Dr Ragen McGowan have provided tips on how to keep your dog or cat safe.

A bull terrier in a Dracula costume (Rocky the Traveller)

Here are five tips on how to keep your pet safe this Halloween.

  1. Prepare your pet. While this year’s spooky holiday will be likely different than previous years’ Halloweens because of Covid-19, it is still possible you may receive more door knocks and doorbell rings than you usually do, which could be alarming for your pet. Preparing your pet in advance for what could be a night of constant knocking is a great idea that could help them feel more comfortable and at ease with Halloween. Dr McGowan says, “Weeks ahead of Halloween, practice with your dog to create a positive association with the doorbell. Try ringing the doorbell before entering your own house and then reward your dog for not barking when you enter. You could also invite friends over and reward your pet with treats for not barking at the doorbell.”
  2. Stay Inside. With the way the world is due to the current pandemic, it’s likely many people will be staying inside this Halloween. But if there are trick-or-treaters coming to visit, then be aware that people dressed in Halloween costumes, as well as the whole out of ordinary day that is Halloween, could make for a less than enjoyable experience for our pets. Well-behaved dogs could even find strangers in costumes to be upsetting. Indoor and outdoor cats could be at risk of being frightened. Dr McGowan advises planning ahead, just in case your pet gets out. “Make sure your pets have proper identification so if something happens and they’re found later, you can be contacted.”
  3. Keep Candy Out of Reach. Your pets will likely be curious as to all the lovely smelling candies hanging about in the house, but it’s best to keep them in a safe place where they can’t reach (especially chocolates). If you hate the idea of leaving your pet without any treats while your gorge on candy and chocolates then you can look for dog or cat treats at your local pet store. Many of them will even feature Halloween-themed treats and toys. Purina has a list of foods your dog or cat shouldn’t eat.
  4. Keep Costumes Simple. Many of us love to dress our pets up and some don’t mind, but others might not feel so comfortable putting on a costume. Furthermore, there are also Halloween pet safety considerations when it comes to costumes. Safety and comfort should be the priority if you do plan on dressing up your furry friend. Dr Becker says, “Pets typically don’t like costumes with elastic on top of the head or around the neck.” Becker added that pet parents should instead choose an easy-on, easy-off outfit that doesn’t constrict their head and neck or rather than putting on a costume, you can instead get your pet a Halloween-themed collar or leash.
  5. Find Soothing Solutions. While many of the above tips could work for most pets, there are still some dogs and cats who might need some more soothing solutions to help them feel at ease this Halloween. If your dog or cat suffers from anxiety or is terrified from all the commotion that may be caused by Halloween, Dr Becker advises pet parents to talk with their veterinarian about prescription products. Other solutions may also work, such as calming wraps used by dogs who are anxious around thunderstorms and fireworks or if you already have ways to destress your pet, then perhaps you can use these methods for Halloween.

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