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Halloween can be just as much fun with pets as it can with kids. After all, who doesn’t like a Yorkie in a superman costume? But just as there are with other holidays, there are hazards that arise for pets around Halloween. In addition to the tips we’ve been posting on Facebook, here are some suggestions to keep your furry best friend safe through the holiday.


  • Keep the candy out of reach. Most people know that candy is really unhealthy for animals, and chocolate is especially bad, but here’s a reminder. Keep the candy bowls and bags where pets can’t get into them and make sure the kiddos know not to share their haul of treats with the family pet. Dark chocolate is the worst kind of chocolate for pets to ingest. If your animal has ingested chocolate, signs of poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, increased heart rate and seizures.
  • Watch out for sugar-free or low-sugar treats. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many candies, in gum and even in peanut butter, can be poisonous to dogs. Small amounts can cause their blood sugar to drop and result in seizures. Call your vet right away if your dog or cat has raided the candy stash, especially if they’re exhibiting any of these symptoms.
  • Secure your dog during peak trick-or-treating hours. Lots of strangers ringing the doorbell, weird costumes and sounds of foot traffic can all be a bit much for dogs to handle. Keep your dogs confined to a room where they can’t rush out the door as you answer it for trick-or-treaters.
  • Keep your outdoor cats inside. Cats are sometimes victims of animal cruelty around Halloween. Black cats are especially targeted around this time of year, so if you own a black cat, be sure to keep him or her indoors and safe.
  • Use discretion with pet costumes. While pet costumes are absolutely adorable, it’s not fair to dress your pet up if he or she hates being in costume. If your pet is fine wearing a costume, make sure it doesn’t limit his or her ability to breathe, see or move. The costume needs to fit properly so that it isn’t hazardous. Try the costume on your pet the night before to make sure your dog or cat doesn’t exhibit any anxious behavior, and if they do, forego the costume.
  • Keep your pets away from decorations that could be hazardous. Lit candles in pumpkins, rubber eyeballs, fake blood, cobwebs, strings of lights and glow sticks could all be hazardous to your pets’ health. Keep these decorations away from areas your pet can access.
  • Keep pets easily identifiable. Keep collars and tags on your pets, just in case they do happen to escape, so that you can be reunited with them again. Keep tags on even if your dog or cat is microchipped. People who find lost pets don’t always think to have the microchip checked.
  • Keep seasonal plants out of reach. Although corn and pumpkins aren’t necessarily toxic to animals, if eaten in large quantities, they can certainly cause upset stomachs. Large chunks of hard plants like pumpkins can also cause intestinal blockage.


For more pet safety ideas and general information on pets, contact Head of the Class Dog Training. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction, including to our library of articles and our active social media groups.

Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.

She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.

No Scares Allowed! Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Head of the Class Dog Training LLC 

Winchester, VA

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