Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Tabby kitten dressed in a Halloween costume as Superman

Halloween is a fun day for humans, but it might spook (no pun intended!) our pets. People dressed in costumes, scary decorations, Halloween candy, and more all can pose risks to animals. Here are some Halloween pet safety tips to keep in mind.

Dressing up pets in costumes

You'll find pet Halloween costumes for sale in many places, but is it OK to dress up your pet? Because wearing a costume might be uncomfortable or frightening for your pet, introduce the costume slowly. Start by taking the costume out of the packaging and allowing it to air out. Costumes might have strong smells that pets can be sensitive to. 

Lay the costume on the floor, and allow your pet to sniff it. If your pet avoids the costume, shows no interest, or is fearful, put treats or a favorite toy near the costume to make it a positive experience for your pet. If your pet walks up to the costume, praise them and provide treats.

Wait until your pet is comfortable with the costume before attempting to dress your pet. If you have multiple pets, put the pets who aren’t going to dress up in a separate room. The reason for this is that your other pets might become stressed or fearful and have unexpected defensive behavior during the dressing process.

The process of dressing your pet should be done in steps and using repetition. If the costume has more than one piece, try one piece a day. For example, on the first day practice putting on the cape and repeat. On the following day, practice putting on the hat and repeat. The next day, try putting on the cape and the hat. 

During this process, remember to provide praise, encouragement, and treats. If your pet demonstrates fear, stress, and/or defensive behavior during the process, they might not be comfortable dressing up. Be respectful to your pet, and don't force them into a costume.

Pets and Halloween candy

You probably know that candy can make your pets sick, which means you should always keep it out of reach of animals. But be especially cautious of this on Halloween, when there’s so much candy around. 

You can encourage pet involvement in Halloween by making homemade pet treats for your own animals and for other people’s pets. (Just make sure they’re clearly labeled as pet treats.)

Keeping pets safe inside

Finally, pets should be kept inside on Halloween. If a lot of people will be coming to your door, put your pets in a quiet room with the door shut — perhaps with some soothing music playing — to prevent them from escaping. Keeping them in a closed room will also minimize the fright they might get from loud voices and wild costumes.