Monday, 17 December 2018
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This Halloween, keep your pet’s wag while collecting trick or treat swag

SAN DIEGO: Halloween can be an exciting, and scary event for our precious pets. While we are busy with Halloween celebrations throughout the night, what can be overlooked are “the things that make Halloween a treat for people, noises, smells trick-or-treaters at the door and people in costumes, can overwhelm many pets,” says KC Theisen, of The Humane Society of the U.S.  Candy and treats, put into pet costumes, constant doorbells and children yelling Trick or Treat can all be stressors on Fido or Fluggy.

Most pets, especially dogs, are creatures of habit. When there are sudden changes, noises or new stressors in the environment, it can create anxiety and agitation


It is critically important that pets are kept away from the Halloween revelry. Let them curl up in the bedroom, with the door shut, light low and a soft radio or television program to listen to. If they are crate trained, place their crate away from the door; find them a secure place away from the Halloween bell ringers and children yelling “Trick of Treat”.

Remember, pets react to the emotions of the people in the room. If you and the children are excited, so will be Fluffy. Ensure that pet identification tags are on their collar in case they bolt through the front door opened to trick-or-treaters.

Don’t wait for Halloween, make some caramel popcorn tonight

You also need to protect your dog or cat from biting or scratching a trick or treater. For trick-or-treaters who enjoy the company of their pet on Halloween, keeping them safely on a leash at all times is a priority. If you are taking your dog trick or treating, you are responsible for him or her not being startled and biting a child.  Remember, no matter how adorable they are, not all dogs have the temperament to be in the dark with young ghouls and goblins running about.

Having an adult holding the leash while staying away from the crush at the door is always a good idea. Additionally, you never know if behind that door lives another dog.

A Boston Terrier Halloween by Don Hankins at Flickr – Some rights reserved[email protected]/1660288723


Approximately 50% of pet owners enjoy dressing their pets up for Halloween. Acceptable pet costumes include non-toxic pet-safe materials; and, just like costumes for your human children, conducive to safe vision and natural breathing.

One of your first tests, whether to costume your pet, is whether he or she will tolerate it. If they are fighting you, or under stress with that headband and feathers, stop. You may find it amusing, but they don’t. Pet scarves with a Halloween theme are far safer than costumes; just ensure they do not create a choking or hanging hazard.


Halloween is also one of the highest selling holidays for the purchase of candy. All that sweet nougat and chocolate smells, and tastes, good to your pets. However, candy and other foods are highly toxic to pets, especially to dogs, and eating candy with its high salts and sugars can create illness, kidney failure, internal blockages, even death. Or just make them very sick to their stomach leading to a bad night for everyone.

In addition to common household items which make dogs particularly ill, such as xylitol and sugar-free mints and gums, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, fabric sheets, grapes, raisins and more, the following are common Halloween candy treats and other edibles which are highly toxic and therefore dangerous to dogs especially and other pets:

  1. Chocolate candy, including baked goods and other foods
  2. Chocolate or other coated raisins
  3. Wrapped and unwrapped candies
  4. Candy wrappers that contain foils or cellophane
  5. Gum and mints image via Arango


Unlike people, pets cannot inform their human what they have eaten nor how they feel. In the event of any symptoms, from lethargy to diarrhea and vomiting, especially when Halloween treats may be the culprit, contact the family veterinarian immediately!

Pets have clever ways of finding what would be the most fun to chew or tasty to eat. An often overlooked Halloween hazard is decorations, both indoor and outdoor. Ensure all ornaments and decorations are out of reach of your pet.

Beware the plastic glow sticks that the little ghosties may drop in your yard. They are highly toxic to your pet.

Think like your pet by walking in his or her paws. Be vigilant decorating, creating Halloween activities and events, handing out candy and as “scary” trick-or-treaters are pounding a path to your door, keep your pet safe.

Protecting beloved pets from their natural behavior and curiosity will go a long way toward ensuring Halloween fun and revelry which is safe and Emergency-free for the entire family.

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Until next time, enjoy the broomstick ride, in good health!


The Bark Box

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