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Your Guide to Keeping Cats and Dogs Safe on Halloween

October 14, 2019

Two dogs dressed up for halloween

Halloween can be a fun holiday for pet parents. Who doesn’t love showing off their cats and dogs, all decked out in their costumes? Still, if you’re not aware, the holidays can pose a few hazards to the safety of our four-legged friends. Whether you plan to hand out candy or to bring the dog on the family’s trick-or-treat outing, here’s a checklist to help you keep the festivities fun and safe.

Manage the doorbell anxiety on Halloween night

Most pets will take the trick-or-treating traffic in stride. However, continually ringing doorbells, strangers coming and going, and ghoulish garb all create a stressful and confusing combination for some pets. If the parade of strangers makes your pet skittish, do what you can to keep them from bolting out the door.

  • Keep them sequestered in a closed, quiet room, providing them with a soft, cozy bed.
  • Install a baby gate in your front entrance. This allows you to hand out treats to the neighborhood kids while blocking fearful (or adventurous) pets from the exit.
  • Leave them out of the Halloween loop altogether, and set up an outdoor trick-or-treat station. Gather your portable fire pit, some camp chairs and a thermos of warm drinks. While you greet and treat your costumed guests, your pet can relax indoors.

Don’t let pet costumes spoil your furry friend’s evening

It’s hard to think of something cuter than a pet rocking a great costume! But the rule of thumb here is they’re only for pets who don’t have a problem with it. Before the big night, have a few practice runs. Costumes should fit, accommodate potty breaks and not restrict movement. If your furry friend is scared, uncomfortable or unwilling to walk around once it’s on, be a considerate pet parent and skip it.

Keep your pets safe from Halloween décor

If you like to deck out for the holidays, always keep pet safety in mind.

  • Cords, small plastic pieces and loose draping fabrics all can pose a temptation for curious and playful pets. Decorate with the safety of your pets in mind so that you can avoid injury-causing crashes, ingestions and destruction.
  • Rethink that jack-o'-lantern candle. Dogs and cats can easily knock over your beautifully carved gourds. A carved pumpkin with a lit candle that can lead to injury or a fire. Place jack-o-lanterns where they're inaccessible to dogs and cats. Considering that Halloween poses a higher risk of house fires compared to other nights of the year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, it’s no small risk. Consider a safer means to mood lighting, such as a battery-operated candle with a flicker effect.

Keep Halloween candy away from pets

If your pup is one to scarf up any people food that comes his way, keep the candy out of reach. Even if your dog has a sweet tooth, candy can make dogs sick.

  • Chocolate in higher doses can cause death in dogs. (A substance in chocolate called theobromine can cause heart tremors and seizures).
  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in gum and in some peanut butter, causes liver failure.
  • Finally, swallowing wrapped candies whole can not only present a choking hazard, but also can cause an obstruction.

To avoid Halloween night emergencies, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the candy bowl well out of reach.
  • When the kids sort out their Halloween night haul, have them count and sort their haul at the kitchen table, rather than the living room floor. (Don’t forget to keep wrappers from finding their way to the floor.)
  • If it makes puppy (and you) feel better, you can always offer a special treat. Check out your independent pet supply shop and pick up one of those fun holiday-themed pet biscuits. Otherwise, check out our ultimate list of human foods that are safe for dogs.

Are black cats in danger on Halloween?

Black cats have long been the subject of urban myths. But does Halloween really pose a more significant threat to black cats? Some believe black cat adoptions take an end-of-October uptick because people want to lend their holiday shin-dig the right ambiance, while others have an evil ritual in mind. Many animal advocates say there’s no truth to these dark tales. Still, if your cat spends time outside every day, when Halloween rolls around, hit the pause button on that practice, regardless of its coat and markings. Between the trick-or-treaters and increased car traffic in the neighborhood, your cat will be safest spending time at home.

Tips for trick-or-treating with dogs

Trick or treating can be a fun outing for the whole family, especially when your four-legged friend comes along. The following safety tips will help you keep the fun vibe.

  • Got ID? Before your outing, confirm that your dog’s tag or microchip ID is up-to-date. This can be a real lifesaver!
  • Keep a firm grip on the leash because even well-behaved dogs can be unpredictable in unfamiliar situations. The encounters with lots of new kids, special effects from spooky yard decorations, other people’s pets, car traffic — your dog’s sensitive nose and ears are taking it all in. If something triggers excitement, fear or the impulse to bolt, you could end up spending your Halloween searching for a lost pet!
  • Safety first: Put a light on the dog’s collar or use a reflective leash or vest so your dog is visible after dark.
  • Consider your dog’s leash manners. If you’re looking after your kids while managing your jumpy dog around all the other trick-or-treaters, the outing won’t be much fun for anyone. You’ll have to decide what your dog (and you) can handle. If you do choose to bring the dog, have an exit plan. Can you bring him home while your friend or partner continues leading the candy quest?
  • Bring the necessities. Don’t leave home without bags for waste, and maybe a couple of treats, to reward him for good behavior or to distract him from the candy bag.
  • Speaking of candy, make sure everyone in your trick-or-treat party is on board with this rule: No hand-outs from the trick-or-treat bag.

Now that you have this checklist to keep your cat and dog safe and content on the spookiest night of the year, here’s to a Happy Howl-o-ween with your four-legged friends! Be sure and visit NutriSource on Instagram and Facebook. We want to see those snaps of your costumed pets.

Each bag and can of NutriSource contains Good 4 Life, an exclusive blend of supplements that offer your cat and dog all the minerals and probiotic nutrients they need to build a healthy gut. Learn more how Good 4 Life supplements found only in NutriSource can make your pet’s diet complete.