Halloween will likely look a bit different in your neighborhood this year, but curious pets will still find opportunities to fall for a trick and miss out on a treat. When any holiday, including Halloween, approaches, pets are intrigued by the visiting friends and family members, unusual decorations, bright lights, strange sounds, and tantalizing treats. Because spooky situations can turn horrifying in a flash, proper prevention is required to help your four-legged pal stay out of mischief. We answer some of pet owners’ most common questions about keeping their furry ghosts and goblins safe, comfortable, and happy during the Halloween festivities. 

Question: How can I keep my door-dashing pet safe during trick-or-treating?

Answer: Pets commonly dart through doorway gaps amid the hubbub of doling out treats. While keeping your pet confined during the entire evening may be tough, especially if you’re unsure about your number of visitors, keeping them in a bedroom or behind a closed door is the best way to keep them safe. Give them a Kong stuffed with pet-safe goodies—peanut butter, yogurt, fresh fruit, and kibble make excellent combos—and your pet won’t mind missing the action. Double up on your safety precautions by verifying your pet’s microchip information—or scheduling an appointment to have one inserted—and checking collar ID tags for legibility.    

Q: How can I tell if my pet’s costume fits correctly?

A: When purchasing your pet’s Halloween costume, ensure the size closely matches your pet’s breed. For example, if your pet is Labrador-sized, don’t try to cram them into a costume meant for a border collie. Once your pet is wearing their costume, run your fingers along each opening to check for snugness. Tight neck- and leg-holes can restrict breathing and movement, while hats, horns, and antlers can slip and obscure vision. As your costumed pet moves around, continue to monitor their comfort and ensure the outfit does not slip and slide.

Q: How can I tell if my pet enjoys wearing a Halloween costume?

A: People love dressing their pets up in adorable costumes, but not every pet appreciates getting all dolled up. Pets who enjoy showing off their costumes will continue their normal activities. If your pet freezes in horror, or rubs frantically on the ground to remove the offending item, a Halloween costume is probably not in the cards for them. However, you can swap out your pet’s daily collar for one with a festive pumpkin or skeleton theme, or tie a flashy bandana around their neck.

Q: Are any Halloween treats safe for my pet?

A: If you’d like to share your Halloween haul with your pet, doing so will likely result in an emergency veterinary visit. Not a single Halloween treat can be safely shared with your furry pal, because most are chocolate, sugar-laden, or sugar-free. Too much chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can lead to theobromine toxicity that can cause heart and gastrointestinal issues, while sugar-free candy and gum sweetened with xylitol can result in death. Although your furry companion may gaze beseechingly as you check out your candy stash, resist the temptation to share, and instead offer them fresh veggies, a chunk of unseasoned chicken breast, or a bite of fresh fruit—avoiding grapes and raisins.

Q: My pet chewed on my child’s glow stick. What should I do?

A: Fortunately, glow sticks are not highly toxic to pets, although their neon colors seem to scream a warning. Your pet may drool excessively and vomit to get rid of the burning taste, but plenty of fresh water will help flush out the substance. Still, keep a close eye on your pet for continued vomiting. 

Q: My pet wants to gnaw on our jack-o’-lanterns. Are pumpkins dangerous for pets?

A: Your jack-o’-lantern that has been decorating your porch for weeks is likely full of mold and bacteria, which can pose a threat to your pet’s health, causing vomiting, inappetence, or diarrhea. However, if your pup wants a bite of pumpkin as you’re carving your masterpiece, a small section shouldn’t hurt. Avoid feeding the seeds, stem, or skin, and clean the pumpkin thoroughly before offering your pet a bite. Keep in mind that pumpkin is a fiber-rich food that can cause digestive issues if your pet eats too much, so share only a small, fresh piece. Feeding your pet no pumpkin at all may be best, so they don’t go after your carved decorations sitting unattended on your doorstep.

Q: Who should I call if my pet gets into trouble after normal business hours?

A: If your pet encounters trouble on Halloween night, contact the Animal Emergency Center at 901-323-4563 for immediate care. Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, so we will only be open till noon, but if your furry pal needs urgent treatment during normal business hours, we’d be happy to provide them with prompt care. 

Want to show off your pet’s incredible Halloween costume? Or, are you worried about the treats your furry pal is raking in with their awesome outfit? Stop by Southern Crossing Animal Hospital—we’ll help keep your pet safe this Halloween, and dish out some tasty, veterinarian-approved treats, too.