Halloween is a stressful holiday for many pets — perhaps second only to the Fourth of July. Neighborhoods bustle, humans dress in scary costumes and they come right up to the door, ring the bell and yell “trick or treat!”
Veterinary behaviorist Marie Hopfensperger offers tips to keep you and your pets safe on Halloween.
Trick or treating
- If your pet is scared of children or has a history of aggression toward unfamiliar people, don’t bring them to any events or out trick-or-treating.
- For pets staying home, it may be helpful to set them up in a comfortable confinement area with special treats, toys and white noise.
- Be sure the costume is comfortable for your pet and doesn’t restrict its ability to walk or breathe normally.
- Putting the costume on will be weird for most pets, so go slowly when putting the costume on and offer your pet special treats when wearing the costume.
- If your pet gets irritable during routine handling, grooming or bathing, then dressing up for Halloween may be too stressful for the pet and may put the owner at risk of being scratched or bitten.
Don’t forget that chocolate is toxic to dogs, as is the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is found in most sugarless gums.
If you believe your pet is showing signs of poisoning, contact a poison control hotline immediately, follow their instructions and seek veterinary medical help. If your pet has vomited, bring a sample with you. If possible, also bring a sample (including packaging) of what your pet has ingested.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
888-426-4435 (May charge a consultation fee by credit card)
MSU Veterinary Medical Center
517-353-5420 (Open 24/7/365)