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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Concerns for your pet during Halloween

STILLWATER, Okla. – As Halloween approaches, parents are helping their children plan costumes, map out in which neighborhoods to trick-or-treat and maybe even humming the chorus of Monster Mash.
Concerns for your pet during Halloween

Keep a close eye on your pets during Halloween to ensure their safety.

While all this planning for the kids is great, do not forget about your furry friends, said Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, director of Continuing Education, Extension and Community Engagement at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

“While deciding on costumes for themselves or their children, many pet owners find it fun to dress up their pets, too,” Giedt said. “While Halloween can be a fun-filled holiday, keep in mind there are some dangers lurking for your pets.”

Going door to door collecting candy is a favorite activity for children. They love all the sweet treats they receive. However, keep in mind these treats are for people, not pets. As tempting as it can be to give in to your pet’s adorable face, it is important to just say no. Chocolate can be dangerous, and even lethal in some cases, for dogs and cats.

Giedt said chocolate poisoning symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and even seizures.

“Many types of candy contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener. Even in small amounts, xylitol can dangerous for your dog,” she said. “Although xylitol toxicity in cats hasn’t been established, you should play it safe and not let your cat eat chocolate or sugarless treats.”

If possible, keep your pets indoors a couple of days before and after Halloween. Many neighborhoods will have increased foot and vehicular traffic, which may pose a danger to animals. Unfortunately, black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruel incidents, so it is best to keep all pets inside.

“If your pet, especially dogs, get very excited at the sound of the doorbell, having lots of ghosts and goblins ringing the bell all evening may be too much excitement,” Giedt said. “In the best interest of the pet, pet owners and young visitors to your home, keep your pets confined to a room away from the front door. This also will help prevent your pet from darting through the open door when trick-or-treaters are there.”

This is a good reason all pets should be microchipped. Locating a lost pet can be much easier if the animal has a chip. Your veterinarian can give you more information about microchipping.

Giedt said some pet owners enjoy dressing up their pets in costumes for Halloween.

“While the pets look cute and make great photos for social media, not all costumes are designed with your pet’s comfort in mind,” she said. “You’ll likely know right away if your pet doesn’t like its costume. If this is the case, snap that photo quickly and then remove the costume. You don’t want your pet to be miserable all evening.”

Observing some of these safety tips can help ensure you and your pet have a safe Halloween.

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Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
159 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000