Halloween often brings pets stress and anxiety. With increased attention on all things creepy and terrifying, pets are on edge and easily spooked, and pet owners are left to combat the stressful triggers that haunt their furry companions. This year, Tidmore Veterinary Hospital has seven tactics that pet owners can use to protect their pets from ghoulish Halloween encounters.

Tactic #1: Establish a safe place at home for your pet

If your house is a popular destination for trick-or-treaters, your pet will need a secure, quiet place. Constant visitors may stress out your pet, and she can easily slip outside through the ever-opening door and get lost. Designate a peaceful room for your pet, away from the commotion, with her favorite bedding, a calming pheromone diffuser, and some music or white noise to drown out the house noise.      

Tactic #2: Conceal Halloween treats from your pet

Candy and treats quickly fill the house during October. Keep toxic substances, like chocolate, nuts, and wrappers, out of your pet’s reach so she cannot eat them. Chocolate and nuts are a harmful duo for pets. Chocolate contains two chemicals, caffeine and theobromine, which can cause hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and tremors in dogs and cats. When ingested in large amounts, nuts can cause diarrhea, digestive issues, or pancreatitis. Candy wrappers may become gastrointestinal obstructions and require surgical removal.   

Tactic #3: Ensure your pet’s costume is safe

Dressing pets in costumes can be fun, but the wrong costume can be hazardous to your pet’s health. Costumes that are snug and tight can cause breathing difficulties, and your pet may panic and injure herself. Ensure that any elastic is not rubbing and irritating your pet’s skin. Beware of costumes with dangling buttons or bows, as they can trip your pet or be a choking hazard if ingested. Dogs and cats also can be sensitive to fabrics and scents, so be mindful of the costume material. If your pet begins to scratch, or tries to remove the costume, check her skin for redness or swelling, and call us about an allergy medication if she shows signs of an allergic reaction. 

Tactic #4: Keep glowsticks away from your pet

Glowsticks may seem like harmless objects, but they can cause an adverse reaction in both cats and dogs when ingested. The chemical used to illuminate the glowstick is not life-threatening, but is bitter-tasting. If your pet has ingested glowstick chemicals, you may see increased drooling, foaming, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, and oral irritation. 

Tactic #5: Forgo ghostly decorations your pet may swallow    

Watch your pets carefully around the Halloween decorations, which can put them at risk of injury or intestinal blockage requiring surgery if ingested. Call us immediately if your pet has ingested a holiday ornament. 

Tactic #6: Don’t leave your pet outside

Some pets are scared by Halloween noises, so bring your pet inside before dusk to ensure her safety. Also, because frightened pets may escape from the yard and get lost or injured, ensure your pet’s identification tags on her collar and her microchip registration information are up-to-date. Proper identification will increase your pet’s chances of returning home if she gets lost. 

Tactic #7: Reduce access to candles

Cats and dogs are attracted to the flickering light of candles and jack-o’-lanterns, and may accidentally knock them over and cause a fire or burn themselves. Keep lit candles and jack-o’-lanterns out of your pet’s reach, or use battery-operated items. 

If your pet needs help with her Halloween fear and anxiety, contact us, and our veterinary team can provide more information.