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Imagine that one day everything went from perfectly normal and acceptable to upside down, topsy-turvy and cattywampused! Pets experience our love for holidays throughout the year (Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, etc.), but it’s never quite as spooky as Halloween.

What can a pet owner do to not only make their pet feel safe, but also reduce or eliminate potential hazards? Here is Paws Humane Society’s Halloween pet safety practices to use at home and beyond!

The Usual Suspects

Candy must always remain out of your pet’s sight. Whether it’s out of boredom or hunger, a curious pet can land in a lot of hot water if they decide to sample the candy bowl or treat bag.

Chocolate is perhaps the worst offender to Halloween pet safety because it contains the chemicals theobromine and caffeine. Responsible for hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, vomiting, and diarrhea, chocolate poisoning can also lead to seizures, collapse, and even death. The darker and less sweet, the more toxic.

Xylitol, the artificial sweetener, is also extremely dangerous to your pet’s health and wellness. In low doses, Xylitol affects blood sugar, but it can cause acute liver failure if too much is consumed.

Please seek emergency veterinary care immediately if you know (or suspect) your pet ate chocolate or Xylitol-sweetened candies. Also, keep Halloween candy out of your pet’s sight and reach.


It looks good enough to eat, what surrounds the candy is also dangerous to pets. If they eat foil or cellophane wrappers, gastrointestinal obstruction can result. Choking and other internal injuries are also possibilities.

Candy apples and lollipop sticks can present similar problems if swallowed.

Decorations Galore

Halloween pet safety must also include a cautious approach to your household decorations. Everyone loves a flittering Jack-o’-lantern on All Hallow’s Eve, but as with any candlelight, your pet could accidentally bump into it, knock it over, or suffer burns or singed whiskers if they get too close. Please consider using LED tea lights instead of live flame candles.

Also, the following items can pose threats to Halloween pet safety:

  • String lights
  • Exposed electrical wires
  • Artificial corn, berries, or other materials from garlands or wreaths
  • Battery-operated animatronic displays
  • Rubber bands
  • Twist or zip ties
  • Any sharp or indigestible materials that can be stepped on or eaten

Bump in the Night

Dark, furry pets require extra attention and care. Black cats, specifically, shouldn’t be allowed outside at night before and during Halloween. All pets should be microchipped and tagged and be sure to leash your dog (reflective collars are also a good idea) when out trick or treating and do not let them pick up anything with their mouths.

Costumes and Halloween Pet Safety

If your pet tolerates clothes, pet costumes can be a great addition to the general revelry. If they don’t like to be dressed up, please don’t force them to wear a costume or allow them out of sight to get out of it alone. Be sure that there aren’t any choking or entanglement issues, and remove the costume if it stresses your pet out.

If you are looking for someone special to make your Halloween not so spooky, one of our Adoption Counselors at Paws Humane can assist! Please give us a call!