Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Trick or Treating with Fido this Halloween
By Carol Osborne DVM, October 2019
Dog gets ready for Halloween

Photo by Jamie Street

This Halloween enjoy the festivities with your pets. Integrative Veterinarian Dr. Carol Osborne, DMV offers a few simple safety tips for pets and their owners to help ensure fun for all while trick or treating this season. 

1. That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can also be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are not toxic but can produce stomach upsets and even intestinal blockage if large pieces are eaten. 

3. Keep wires and electric cords taped securely to the floor or covered so your pet doesn’t chew them and risk burning his mouth or getting an electric shock.

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4. Elevate candles and potpourri oils, up out of paw reach. Curious pets and kittens can easily knock them over and cause a fire or risk getting burned.  

5. Dressing up is fun as long as your pet enjoys it and the costume is safe. Be sure it does not restrict his or her movement, breathing, hearing or sight.  For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” wearing a costume can be very stressful. 

6. All but the most social dogs and cats should be safely confined inside your home during peak trick-or-treat hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful. 

7. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, be sure that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. A leash and collar for dogs and a harness for cats help to ensure your 4-footed friends safety.

8. Proper ID’s please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet gets lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip increase the chances that he or she will be returned safely to you. 

9. Black cats can be a target for Halloween pranksters. Keep them safely confined indoors and be aware that many shelters will not allow adoptions of black cats over this holiday.

10. Holistic options for pets that may become fearful or stressed by the festivities: cotton balls in your pet’s ears help diminish loud noises and a few drops of Bach’s Rescue Remedy added to your pet’s food or water bowel help to safely calm nerves and relieve stress.

Dr. Carol Osborne is an author and world-renowned integrative veterinarian of twenty plus years. After graduating from the Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Carol completed a prestigious internship at the Columbus Zoo.  Shortly afterwards, she launched a very successful private practice and became founder and director of the non-profit organization, the American Pet Institute. Dr. Carol offers traditional veterinary care for dogs and cats with a softer, natural touch. Her approach highlights the importance of nutrition and utilizing holistic avenues in combination with traditional treatments.

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