halloween safety, halloween, pets, costumes

How to celebrate Halloween safely with pets

Halloween is on it’s way! Whether you’re staying in or going out, we want you to enjoy the time with your pets. In this blog we’re going to highlight some of the safety tips from Dave Wilson, Director of Shelter Health and Wellness for the Ontario SPCA and retired vet, in our blog, PET HEALTH CORNER: Halloween Safety Tips.


Sweets lying around the house can be a real danger to your pets. Chocolate is particularly poisonous, but raw sugar, or sugar substitutes like xylitol can be bad too.

Animals’ systems aren’t used to the intake of pure sugar, so they may react. Along with this, packaging can be dangerous too. Plastic/wrappers are often petroleum by-products, and pets can also choke on extra parts like sticks or strings. These can unravel in the gut and cause binding, which can have serious consequences.


halloween safety, halloween, pets, costumes
photo credit: DaPuglet Boo The Pug And His Pumpkin via photopin (license)

With children running around in masks or long costumes, owners need to be aware of where their pets are so they don’t trample their feet, tails or paws.

Halloween night is not the time to put your pet in their costume for the first time. Test how your animal feels about costumes with something like a bath towel, clipped together on their back.

Once the costume has been bought, set the tone that this will be a good experience by taking it slow, and offering lots of treats.

Start by touching your pet with the costume, then give them a treat. Praise them, and keep the tone light. By planning this in advance, your pet will become accustomed by Halloween.

Also, before leaving for the night, test to make sure the costume doesn’t interfere with normal restraints, like a halter, collar, or vest. You don’t want these to come undone when you take them outside.

Trick or Treat ?

Before deciding to take your pet out with you, consider how they normally react with strangers. Remember the environment will be different with darkness, and lots of strangers running around dressed oddly.

If there’s  doubt of how your pet will react, consider leaving them home than taking a family photo afterwards once the excitement has died down.

Staying Home

If your pet is staying home, it’s best to remove the animal from that open environment where people are coming to the door, to a quiet room with a radio softly turned on to distract them.

Finally, be aware of Halloween decorations that could be a danger to your pets. Things such as corn stocks or dried gourds can cause digestive problems if ingested, potentially leading to blockages that require surgery to remove. Candles can also be a danger if the animal knocks them over.

Keep decorations out of reach, or don’t put them out at a time or place where your pets can have access to them.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Oct 27, 2017
by Emily Cook