Halloween safety tips for pets: Cats and dogs during spooky season

Responsible cat and dog owners should take heed of all the warnings in place for pets on Halloween. It's a dangerous world out there, especially during spooky season, and we've got some Halloween safety tips for you.

Cats and dogs all face unique risks come Halloween time.
Cats and dogs all face unique risks come Halloween time.  © Collage: Unsplash/Karsten Winegeart & Bianca Alexa

When Halloween time comes around the bend, while we humans enjoy the spooky season with our friends and family, our pets remain bundled up in the bedroom, scared and unhappy.

While certain emotions are hard to avoid, there are plenty of precautions we can take.

So, how can we keep our pets safe at Halloween? Whether you have a cat or a dog, this animal guide is packed full of safety tips and tricks.

Halloween safety tips for pets

Halloween is a time for scary things and frightening situations, but perhaps not for circumstances quite as scary or frightening as the death or sickness of a beloved pet. As such, it is our responsibility as pet owners to look after them and make sure that they are treated with respect, care, and attention.

On a holiday where sweets and treats are the go-to for most families, unhealthy food and candy wrappers have the potential to cause serious harm to our fluffy friends. These four-legged fellows love us dearly and, indeed, we love them right back – so let's all take a few moments to address the main dangers.

Here are the main dangers that pets face on Halloween:

  • Unhealthy or potentially toxic food in easy-to-access places
  • The wrappers and packaging of said food can cause choking when ingested
  • Loud noises and frightening situations
  • Unease and a feeling of restlessness
  • Unknown people in your pet's territory taking up their space
  • Decorations can pose hazards
  • Costumes, especially pet costumes, can become dangerous
  • It's easy to lose a pet in the flurry of commotion caused by a Halloween party or trick-or-treating.

These risks are all very real and worth paying a great deal of attention to! There are a number of tips and tricks for dogs and cats that are worth checking out before Halloween comes around the bend.

Want to dress your cat up this Halloween? Well, good luck with that! Better wear gloves.
Want to dress your cat up this Halloween? Well, good luck with that! Better wear gloves.  © Unsplash/Nika Benedictova

Halloween safety for cats

Unlike dogs, cats aren't so likely to get themselves poisoned on Halloween. What's more likely is that they will experience extreme cat anxiety on account of the loud noises they may encounter and the multitude of people likely to invade their territory. As such, there are a number of steps that should be taken to protect your kitty against Halloween-based risks.

Here are some Halloween cat safety tips:

  • Don't put costumes on your cat: Costumes not only pose a physical health risk to your feline friends on account of their propensity to get caught on stuff but costumes may also cause a lot of distress. Cats hate it when their bodily autonomy is taken away and it makes them very scared. As such, no matter how cute their Halloween costume might be, it can be cruel to make them wear it.
  • Keep your cat in a totally separate room with the door closed: No matter whether you are accepting trick-or-treaters or hosting a big lavish party, make sure that your cat is not outside and is instead kept safely in a separate area of the house. Keep the door closed to where your kitty is and instruct guests to steer clear of that space.
  • Make sure noise is kept as minimal as possible: Even if you are having a party, try to keep the boof-boof music as low as possible. Additionally, never use fireworks, crackers, or any other devices liable to make loud banging noises. These will frighten the living daylights out of the beloved kitty.
  • Beware of food: While it is less likely that your cat will try to eat party food, it is still possible. Try to make sure that your kitty steers clear of chocolate and snacks and, if there is meat around, make sure that it isn't chicken or else that your cat has no way of accessing it.
  • Guarantee that decorations don't pose a risk: Cats like to jump around and are especially liable to climb into odd positions or run at fast speeds when they are frightened. As such, do not use any decorations that won't break free when pulled on by your cat or that are likely to get your cat tangled. Especially avoid anything that could get caught around your cat's neck and cause choking!
  • Get your cat microchipped and vaccinated: Before proceeding with any Halloween celebrations, make sure that there are no possible threats to your cat. The first port of call here is checking the guest list itself, and the second is making sure that your cat is up-to-date on all of its jabs. Finally, your cat should be microchipped so it can be identified if it runs away.

While this may seem like an over-the-top overly-extensive list of measures, Halloween is a huge risk, and keeping your cat safe is your responsibility – if you're not up for it, you shouldn't have a cat in the first place.

Halloween safety for dogs

Be careful about pet costumes, as they can be very dangerous.
Be careful about pet costumes, as they can be very dangerous.  © Unsplash/Paige Cody

It's now time to talk about our beloved canine companions. While not nearly at as high a risk of anxiety-based issues at Halloween, your dog is far more likely to face environmental risks than your cat. As such, this list of Halloween safety tips will focus nearly exclusively on food and potential hazards in your dog's immediate space.

Here are some Halloween dog safety tips:

  • Treats and food: Dogs are far more likely to face food-based risks on Halloween. Please remember that dogs absolutely love the taste of chocolate, but can die if they eat it. Similar goes for other sweets as well as alcoholic beverages, tea, and especially coffee. Be extremely careful that there is nothing toxic within easy reach of your dog and that your guests know what not to do!
  • Candles: Do not keep candles lit in a house with a dog – this is just basic common sense. Dogs get excited and will move around clumsily, especially at a party. As such, if your dog bumps into a candle, it can seriously hurt itself and potentially cause a fire.
  • Costumes: Dogs don't like costumes, no matter how cute you think they are. They cause serious distress in some and should be avoided. In addition to the psychological aspect, costumes have the potential to be physically dangerous as well if the pet is not closely monitored while wearing it.
  • Decorations: In a similar vein to the issue of costumes and candles, decorations can pose a serious threat. Keep them all out of reach of your dog and make sure that there is nothing around that your doggo could get caught in or strangled by.
  • Supervision: While you don't need to keep your dog alone in a separate area of the house, it does need to be supervised at all times. This should be done by a human already known to the dog and should be consistent. Your dog needs to be paid attention to in case anything goes wrong!
  • Inside pets are safe pets: While you don't need to keep your dog inside if you have a yard, you shouldn't be taking your pupper on walks around the block or to local parties on the night of. It's too high a risk as there will be a lot of alcohol in use and you just don't want to face the possibility of a lost and scared dog getting loose in that mess.
  • Identification and medical checks: Similar to what we said about cats, make sure that your dog is fully up-to-date on all things medical and has been chipped so that it is easily recognizable if it runs away and gets lost.

Again, it is your responsibility as a dog owner to keep your darling doggo safe. If you want to have a Halloween celebration, then you need to make sure that your pup will be okay – if you can't, then don't have the party.

Beware of chocolate and other snacks

During any holiday season, always keep in mind that cats and dogs are allergic to a variety of things. From cats being allergic to onions and chocolate being deadly dangerous for dogs, everyone who owns an animal should pay attention to what goes in their pet's bowl and what is left within reach when you're busy partying.

No one wants to end their holiday with an emergency trip to the vet after their cat consumed a chicken bone, and no one wants their dog to die from their children's chocolate. Be careful, guys, because Halloween can be a dangerous and spooky time for animals.

Cover photo: Collage: Unsplash/Karsten Winegeart & Bianca Alexa

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