Tricks, Treats, and Pet Halloween Safety Tips

pet halloween safetyJack-o’-lantern? Check. Black lights? Check. Big bag of candy? Check. Cheerleader costume for your pug? Check. There is certainly much to love about Halloween, and for pet owners it can be a fun opportunity to dress pets up and show them off in the neighborhood or costume parade.

Although we think of Halloween as full of innocent fun, for many pets the holiday poses a fair amount of danger. The constant ringing of the doorbell, increased traffic, unattended candy bowls, and human pranks are among the many events that can cause pets undue stress and increase their risk of illness or injury.

Fortunately, it’s possible to have a pet-friendly Halloween. Our pet Halloween safety tips aim to help keep your celebration spooky, but not scary.

Pet Halloween Safety on the Big Night

The sights and sounds of Halloween night can be anxiety-inducing for even the most laid-back pet. Keep the following safety tips in mind on the big day:

  • Keep pets indoors on Halloween and provide them with a safe, quiet room to escape the chaos.
  • It’s not uncommon for pets to slip out of open doors and gates on Halloween, so make sure pets are wearing ID tags and have up-to-date microchip information.


Decorating the house is one of the most beloved of the Halloween traditions, but it’s important to keep your furry sidekick’s safety in mind before you begin:

  • Jack-o’-lanterns can be irresistible to curious pets, but the lit candle inside could pose a danger if knocked over. Play it safe and keep lit pumpkins away from pets, or consider using battery operated lights.
  • Electric cords can create entanglement or choking issues, and can lead to electric shock if chewed on. Be sure to secure electric cords or place them out of your pet’s reach.
  • Some pets are frightened by moving figures, noises, and flashing lights of animatronic displays. If these decorations make your pet anxious, save them for Halloween night and place them where your pet won’t see them.


Before you dump that bag of mini Snickers bars in the bowl and set it down near the front door, it’s a good idea to know what treats are most toxic to your pet. Some of the common causes of pet poisonings that occur during Halloween are the result of pets eating the following food items:

  • Chocolate
  • Anything containing Xylitol (a sugar substitute found in gum and sugar-free candies)
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and other nuts

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, please call us immediately or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).

Pet Halloween Costumes 101

While there’s nothing cuter than a dachshund in a hot dog suit, or a kitty wearing a tutu, pet costumes can be a major concern.  Steer clear of any costume that will restrict your pet’s vision or movement, or that is making him or her visibly uncomfortable. No amount of cuteness is worth risking your pet’s safety or comfort.

That being said, some pets don’t mind playing dress-up and enjoy the attention they receive.  If you haven’t chosen a costume for your furry bundle of joy, may we suggest the following adorable, and safe, pet costume ideas:

  • Doggie (or kitty) pumpkin
  • Little red dragon
  • Yoda Dog

Wishing you and your pet a fun, safe, and happy Howl-o-ween, from all of us at Berkeley Veterinary Center!

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