Halloween Pet Safety

Canadians spend a large amount of money on Halloween costumes, candy and decorations annually. While we enthusiastically enjoy this holiday, it may be significantly less fun for pets.  Here is a list of precautions to make this a safer Halloween for your pets.

Pet Costumes

Please only dress up your pet if he/she doesn’t mind, as costumes can be very stressful.  Make sure pet costumes don’t interfere with movement, breathing, hearing or vision. Try and put on the outfit for short periods of time leading up to the big day.


Pets can smell candy right through the wrapper, and will try and eat it all!  No type of candy is good for them.  Chocolate (especially dark chocolate) can be highly toxic to dogs and cats. Any candy with the artificial sweetener xylitol can be deadly.   If you are concerned with an accidental toxicity, please call us at the Mission Ridge Animal Hospital.  If it’s after hours, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.


Caution is warranted when using candles, such as in jack-o-lanterns, as animals can get burned.  Wires and power cords need to be placed in areas where they can’t be chewed.  Certain decoration including actual pumpkins or corn may be very tempting for dogs, and if ingested can cause stomach or intestinal blockages.

Trick or Treat

The constant ringing of doorbells can upset cats and dogs.  It might be beneficial to keep them in a calmer, separate area of the house, where there is no risk of escape out of an open door.   Also, some children may find dog encounters scary, and pets can sense this anxiety.   Kids in costumes can be frightening to many animals.  If you are uncertain how your pet will react to them, don’t risk it, keep them separated!  If you are taking your dog trick or treating, keep him/her on leash at all times.  Always make sure your pet is wearing a collar and has some form of permanent ID, such as a microchip (in case of escape.)


Year after year we hear about senseless animal cruelty during the Halloween period.  Black cats especially seem to be a target.  Do not leave your pets unsupervised in your yard during the Halloween season, and try to keep outdoor cats inside for the week leading up to and following Halloween.

Wishing everyone a very SAFE and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!