Halloween is just around the corner, and for many of us in Santa Cruz County, this is the favorite holiday of the year. You can tell by all the Halloween decorations that have been up for weeks! For children and adults alike, the costumes, treats, and parties surrounding Halloween can be great fun. But this holiday can be particularly spooky for our pets. Felton Veterinary Hospital cares about pet safety as much as you do, so let’s explore some ways to make “Fright Night” safe and fun for pets and the entire family.

Foods To Avoid

One of the more apparent dangers to pets on Halloween is candy. Avoiding chocolate is essential because it can be toxic to pets. Xylitol is another life-threatening ingredient for pets and is often found in gum, sugar-free candy, and peanut butter treats. The substances in chocolate, cocoa, and xylitol can cause heart and nervous system effects in pets, including tremors, liver failure, and death. 

Other foods to avoid include:

  • Raisins and grapes
  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Yeasted bread dough
  • Milk-based products

Keep Pets Away From Open Doors in the House

If you plan to be home to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, keep your pets in another room to keep them from being overwhelmed by the doorbell and all the activity. Giving them a safe, quiet place is vital if your pet fears strangers or has a history of aggression.

If you choose not to secure your pet in another room, ensure they can’t escape through the open front door. Try using an exercise pen or gate, or keep them on a leash with you. Many pets go missing on Halloween, so don’t let your pet become one of them. 

Even the friendliest pet can find Halloween a bit too much. If your pet has a crate in which they feel safe, ensure they have access to it to escape the festivities if needed. 

Be Careful With Decorations

While pumpkins aren’t toxic, the stems are hard and can cause a choking hazard or injury if your pet chews on or swallows them. Pumpkin seeds can cause intestinal blockage if consumed in large quantities. 

Decorations such as candles, lights, fake cobwebs, ghosts, bats, and witches may look festive, but they can all be dangerous to pets – especially those who like to explore the world with their mouths. Keep these and all decorations out of pets’ reach.

Dress for Success (and Safety)

Many of us love to see our pets in costume, and some pets are up for joining in the fun. However, if your pet seems uncomfortable or stressed, skip dressing up. 

Some costumes can also be dangerous for your pet. Avoid costumes that:

  • Restrict movement
  • Cover your pet’s face
  • Have embellishments that could come off and be swallowed

Keep Pets Inside After Dark

It’s safer for everyone to keep pets indoors during trick-or-treating hours. If you need to take your pet out at night, ensure they are on a non-retractable leash and are wearing a collar with up-to-date identification tags. Cats, especially black cats, should be locked inside or in a safe place (garage, barn) during the nights leading up to and surrounding Halloween.

Microchips and GPS tags provide added security at any time of the year. 

Your pet is a beloved part of your family, so prepare to keep an eye on them during Halloween festivities and make sure they don’t get into something they shouldn’t. If you have questions about keeping your pet safe on Halloween, please call us at 831-335-3466. Our team is happy to help!