Masked superhero pet dogMany of us are obsessed with this time of year, and nothing says autumn like Halloween. From cleverly carved pumpkins to spooky haunted hayrides, you may already be gearing up for this beloved holiday – and perhaps thinking of how to include your pet in the fun.

Many dogs and (some) cats love the attention they get on this day, and we’re lucky to have so many great options for pet costumes, activities, and treats. However, as with any holiday, there are some risks, so keep reading to find out more about how to keep your pet safe this Halloween.

Pet Safety: Halloween Tricks and Treats to Avoid

A lot of safety savvy pet owners know about pet toxins such as chocolate. However, there are other, lesser known toxic substances that are quite common in holiday snacks. Some of these dangerous ingredients include:

  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute used in baked goods, candies, gum, and certain brands of peanut butter)
  • Chocolate (especially dark or baking chocolate)
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit that contains pits, such as peaches and apricots
  • Grapes and raisins (highly toxic)

When in doubt, simply avoid any foods made for people and stick with pet treats.

Some typical activities on Halloween can also be enjoyable for your pet, such as trick-or-treating with the family. Before heading out, check that the following issues are addressed:

  • His or her costume is fitted; does not obstruct movement, vision, or hearing; or contain items he or she can choke on or ingest
  • He or she is visible (you can add some reflective material to the costume or harness to increase visibility)
  • ID tags and microchip information is current

Prior to showing off your pet at a party, check to see if there are any pet restrictions. If you know it’s going to be noisy or crowded with limited space, it’s probably in your pet’s best interest to avoid it and come up with a more pet-friendly backup plan. This might include hosting a party at your home and encouraging other pet owners to bring their costumed cuties.

For stay-at-home Halloween fun, remember the commotion of so many strangers coming to the door can be a little frightening for your pet. If you sense he’s getting overwhelmed, find a quiet place in the home where he can chill with a family member (with treats of course).

Halloween Goodies Perfect for Your Pet

Maybe you like the idea of celebrating Halloween with your pet but are unsure of what types of treats are good for her. Well, you’re in luck! There are many options when it comes to Halloween pet snacks including:

  • Halloween themed dog or cat treats, which can be found at many pet supply stores
  • There are plenty of creative pet recipes online (try Pinterest for some DIY inspiration)
  • Certain human foods can be OK in small portions – for the adventurous pet, try steamed, unseasoned carrots or green beans; lean, unseasoned, chopped turkey or chicken; or homemade, unsweetened mashed sweet potato or pumpkin pulp

Just be sure to keep the treats to a minimum since overindulgence can cause stomach upset and weight gain.

From your friends at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center, we wish you and your pet a fun and safe Halloween!