Halloween is just around the corner—the costumes, the deliciously scary stories, and the candy.

It is a fun time for children and adults, but keep in mind that it can be a different story for your furry family members. Here are a few tips to ensure your pet has a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

1. Treats Should Be Pet-Friendly


Keep all that tempting candy away from your pets. Sugar is no better for our pets than it is for us. Additionally, chocolate can be dangerous, and even fatal, for both dogs and cats. Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) can kill a dog – even in very small amounts. If you think your pet may have ingested something toxic, call us at 757-935-9111 or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.

A special Halloween treat that your pet can have is pumpkin! Resist the urge to share the candy and give them some roasted pumpkin instead. Click here for a few easy recipes from the American Kennel Club.

2. Tricks Can Be Dangerous For Loose Pets


Unfortunately, there are people who do vicious things to animals on Halloween, including injuring, stealing, and killing pets. Keep your pets inside and not in your yard on Halloween night. We recommend that even your outdoor cats be kept inside for a few days before and after the holiday.  Black cats are especially vulnerable, but any pet can be a target.

3. Keep Pets Away from the Front Door


Consider putting your pet in a room with the door closed and a few toys to keep them occupied on Halloween night. Lots of cute trick-or-treaters means your front door will open often, making it easy for your pet to sneak out and wander off while you’re distracted. Additionally, some pets can become anxious with all those weirdly dressed strangers and the doorbell constantly ringing. A few hours in a secure room can keep them safe and happy, and you from worry.

In the event your pet does get out, make sure you’ve made it easy for someone to identify them and contact you. They should wear a collar with current ID tags and be microchipped.

4. Watch for Fire Hazards


While pumpkin is a tasty treat, a lighted jack-o’-lantern is a safety hazard. Pets can get excited and easily knock it over and start a fire. Kittens and cats can be particularly curious about new decorations and get burned or singed by open flames.

5. Some Pets Don’t Like Costumes


If you want to dress up your dog or cat, make sure they don’t mind wearing a costume. Let them wear it for short durations for a few days leading up to Halloween so they get used to it. Never dress your pet in anything flammable or with any pieces that could be easily chewed off. Make sure the costume doesn’t constrict your pet’s ability to see, breathe, bark, meow, hear, or move.

Is your furry family member dressing up for Halloween? Share photos on Instagram and/or Facebook. To submit your pet’s photo make sure to tag us @TheCoveVets and use #thecovevets in your posts!  We have a special prize for this year’s best pet costume!

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.