Halloween Safety for Pets

Pet Insurance  •  Pam Karkow  •  Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Every year my kids eagerly await the arrival of the October issue of National Geographic Kids.  They open its cover and excitedly search the table of contents for the “Halloween Pet Parade,” a feature highlighting some of the year’s best Halloween costumes for animals.  From dogs wearing bat wings and firefighter outfits to a bunny dressed up as Robin, Batman’s sidekick, we’ve seen it all.  Last year some favorite costumes were a pumpkin, Superman, and Star Wars characters.  Wonder what will be hits this year?

I will never forget one of the first Halloween costumes we bought for Summer, our golden retriever.  It was so cute I could hardly wait to get it on her, but once it was on, she could hardly wait to get it off.  In fact, she seemed so confused by the baseball uniform she was sporting, that she didn’t move for about fifteen minutes, seemingly frozen to the floor in the spot where we had dressed her.  We promptly removed that costume, and returned it to the store, replacing it with a bat costume that was much less restricting, and much more appreciated by our sweet doggy.

How to have a safe Halloween with pets

While Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults, it can be stressful and even scary for pets.  Here are six basic tips to follow when approaching this holiday with your furry children…

  1. Prevent consumption of candy - chocolate and other sweets can be dangerous and even lethal to dogs and cats.

  2. Avoid stressful Halloween situations - doorbell ringing, strangers, and excessive noise and commotion can scare pets.  Be aware of these stressors and have a plan for your pet to go to a friend’s or pet sitter’s house if he/she becomes agitated.

  3. Be cautious with Halloween decorations - keep cords, candles, and other potentially dangerous Halloween decorations out of reach of your pet.

  4. Properly identify your pet - it is easy for your pet to get lost among the ghosts and goblins out trick-or-treating.  Make sure your pet is properly identified in case you get separated. Consider microchipping your pet to ensure they have some form of ID at all times regardless of if they're wearing a collar. 

  5. Dress your pet in an appropriate Halloween costume - make sure to supervise your pet while dressed up.  Some pets like wearing costumes, and others can’t wait to get theirs off.  Keep your eye on your pet so he/she does not ingest any part of the costume, and make sure to secure any strings or extra material that could get caught around your pet’s neck.

  6. Consider enrolling your pet in a pet insurance plan to help protect against the cost of unexpected vet bills. We all hope we can keep our pets safe, but during the holidays it can be especially tricky to ensure they're not getting into trouble. If your dog eats part of a costume, you may be facing a bill of over $2,000 to help remove the foreign body! 

For more on making Halloween a safe and happy experience for your pets, see the AKC’s Top 5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips.

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