Halloween for Pets: Do’s and Don’ts

It’s that time of year again. Halloween! Before you get overzealous and decorate your whole house and buy an elaborate pet costume, consider your pet on Halloween. It can be a stressful time for a pet so here are some tips to make their Halloween and yours a better holiday.

Candy isn’t for pets

Remember that all kinds of chocolate is bad for dogs and cats, it can kill them. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rates and seizures. Other sweets are harmful too, like sweets containing Xylitol. Xylitol can cause sudden drops in blood sugar in pets, and induce seizures.

Also keep decorative items like pumpkins or corn away from pets. While they’re not toxic, they can cause gastrointestinal problems and intestinal blockages.

The door

Keep your pets away from the door. The doorbell will be ringing all night long and this can cause your pets to get stressed. Strangers will be at your door all night in strange costumes, yelling and laughing for their candy. Your dog may become territorial and could growl at trick-or-treaters. Consider with the door opening and closing so frequently that your pets may have the chance to escape. While any night is terrible to be out searching for a lost pet, Halloween is the worst.

Keeping your dog away from the door, and in another room, might be a better solution for everyone. Don’t leave your pets in your yard at Halloween if you have a yard that people can walk by. People have been known to play cruel tricks on poor dogs left in their backyard. The noises of so many people walking by could add stress to your dog, so it really is best to leave them indoors. If you choose to keep your door near the door, make sure they have their ID tags on at all times.

Black Cats

Sadly, black cats are more at risk for cruel pranks near Halloween. Some shelters don’t even adopt black cats out during the month of October. It can be a good idea to keep your outdoor cats inside for several days before and after Halloween, to keep them safe.


While you may think it’s hilarious to dress your dog up as Princess Leia, your dog might not think it’s so entertaining. If you do have a costume for your pet make sure they actually like it. Try it on before Halloween and make sure they’re not acting weird, or becoming stressed out. If your pet seems to be uncomfortable in a costume, try a Halloween themed bandana instead. Make sure that their costumes don’t constrict their movement at all, or the ability to hear or bark and meow. Make sure your pet is still able to communicate with you, while they’re wearing their costume.

Lastly, keep your pets away from lit pumpkins. They could harm themselves or knock them over and accidentally start a fire. Remember, even though Halloween is fun, it may not be as enjoyable for your pet. Keep them in mind when creating Halloween plans. If you’re going to be gone, leave all the lights out in your home, so that trick-or-treaters know not to stop in and knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Leave your pet indoors, in a comfortable room, where the noises of people outside may not reach them.