Keep Pets Safe On Halloween


Halloween can be frightfully fun for humans, but unfortunately for pets, it can be problematic in a variety of ways. To help ensure that our dogs and cats stay safe on October 31st, we asked Dr. Richard Yacowitz of Little Silver Animal Hospital for advice on how to avoid the potential dangers the holiday might present; here are his recommendations:

  • Create a safe haven. When little people wearing strange clothing come to the door, animals can (understandably) go nuts, and it’s common for dogs and cats to escape. Keep dogs and cats safely inside, preferably in a back room away from the commotion, and make sure they have a microchip or ID tag on their collar should they get out.
  • Secure the sweets. Don’t feed your pet any Halloween candy. Many people are aware that dogs should not have chocolate, but the truth is most Halloween candy is milk chocolate, and they’d have to eat a large quantity for it to be very harmful. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is the real problem: a stick of sugar-free gum can potentially kill even a large dog; and some dogs are genetically prone to adverse reactions to raisins, which can result in kidney shutdown and death if ingested.
  • Keep an eye on flames. While a child can be taught that fire is dangerous and should be avoided, a dog can get excited around a candle, start wagging his tail, and get burned.
  • Guard your glow sticks. Keep glow jewelry and glow sticks away from pets. Although the liquid inside isn’t toxic, it is nauseating, and will cause animals to froth at the mouth.
  • Dress up your dogs with caution. Many people enjoy dressing up their dogs for the holiday. Those who do so should bear in mind that a dog can easily eat a piece of their costume and get sick, so if you do dress up your pet be sure that they are supervised at all times.
  • Be watchful of your black cats. If you have a black cat, be particularly vigilant about their whereabouts, since unfortunately there are people who seek them out to kidnap and harm them on Halloween. In fact, many shelters will not allow people to adopt black cats during the month of October for this very reason.

Expert tip from Dr. Richard Yacowitz of Little Silver Animal Hospital in Little Silver, NJ.