It’s that time of year again! Pumpkins adorn front porches, the air is crisp with an autumn chill, and people are shopping for animal Halloween costumes. Dressing up and celebrating this playful holiday with your pet is a time-honored tradition that many people enjoy, and it’s important to be a safe and mindful pet parent while doing so.
If you’re wondering how to keep your pet safe on Halloween, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about the risks and dangers of Halloween for animals, how to choose the safest dog Halloween costumes and animal Halloween makeup, and some other Halloween safety tips to keep things fun and spooky!
Halloween Safety Tips: Choosing a Pet Costume
If you’re a lover of this October holiday, you have likely already started shopping for an amazing Halloween costume for your pet. Dressing up our pets can be hilarious and fun, but it’s important to recognize that not all costumes are created equal. To keep your pet safe this Halloween, you should know:
- Possible dangers presented by pet costumes and makeup
- Good fabric types for dogs with sensitive skin
- How your dog might tell you that they don’t want to dress up
Pet Costume Dangers
Some fabrics, makeup, and accessories can pose a serious risk to your pet. Any part of a costume that hangs off, such as a tassel, bell, or bow, can present a choking hazard for an animal who might chew on it. Pieces that secure the costume, like buttons, buckles, bands, and ties, can also hurt your pet if they get tangled up or the attachment is too tight, cutting off circulation. Depending on where you live and the type of costume you choose for your animal, you’ll also want to watch your pet for signs of overheating while they’re wearing their costume.
If you’re planning to decorate your pet’s fur with paint or makeup, you need to be very careful about what products you use. Never use regular paints or makeup intended for human use on your pet. There are plenty of pet-safe makeup and paint products on the market, but you should shop around to find one that is well-reviewed. When applying animal Halloween makeup, avoid your pet’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Discourage your pet from licking or chewing on their painted fur. They’ll need a bath at the end of the night to remove the makeup as well – don’t let them go to sleep with it on.
Fabric Types for Dogs with Allergies
You might also find your dog’s skin has a reaction to certain fabrics in a costume. Dogs can have allergies too! Almost any fabric that your pet hasn’t worn or slept on before might cause a skin reaction.
So what fabric types should you use for dogs with allergies? Typically, synthetic materials like polyester are the worst for skin irritation because they often contain chemicals that make the material fire-retardant. This is unfortunate because many pet costumes are made of synthetics because they are affordable. If your pet has sensitive skin, try to find a costume made of hemp or organic cotton. These materials are the least likely to irritate your pet. If you notice your pet having any kind of topical reaction to a costume, such as hives or a rash, remove it immediately and contact your veterinarian.
Never Force a Costume
When it comes to animal Halloween costumes, the number one pet safety tip is to never force a costume on your dog or cat. This is a holiday, and it’s meant to be fun for both you and your pet. Some animals will be stressed out by a costume or might even feel embarrassed by the attention.
If you notice your pet showing signs of stress – such as panting, pacing, or whining – while you try to get their costume on and apply their animal Halloween makeup, don’t force them. If you notice their behavior change after you have them dressed up, remove the costume and let them chill. And never leave your dog or cat unattended while wearing a costume.
Pet Food Safety on Halloween
The costumes are a major highlight for most people on Halloween, but candy usually comes in as a close second! Halloween is also a great time for people to host parties with fun, decorative foods (think pigs in a blanket wrapped like mummies, or spidery cupcakes with pretzel stick legs). While this is a blast for humans, some of these holiday foods can present a serious safety risk for pets. When planning your Halloween festivities, consider the following:
- Cats and dogs should never eat candy
- Include some snacks that are pet-safe
- Your pet’s food intake should be monitored closely during a party
Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Candy
Most houses will have a little more candy around than usual during the Halloween season. Candy of all kinds is unhealthy for dogs and cats, and owners should take great care to keep their pets away from the candy bowl. Chocolate is well known for being toxic for dogs and cats, and even non-chocolate candy can increase your pet’s risk of weight and blood sugar issues. Plus, if your pet gets a hold of candy and ends up eating the wrapper, too, that can present an entirely different set of health risks, including the possible concern of intestinal blockage.
Keep the candy bowl up high and far away from your pet’s reach. Remember that many cats and dogs will jump on counters to access something that smells or looks tasty, so find a candy hiding spot that you know is truly safe from your pets’ curious noses and paws. If you have a Halloween party, be sure your guests know not to feed any goodies to your pet without your permission. If you find some wrappers lying around and realize your pet has eaten some candy, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Halloween Foods That Are Safe for Dogs
Just because your pet can’t join in the candy fun doesn’t mean they have to go treatless on Halloween! There are plenty of yummy foods that are safe for dogs and also make great party snacks for humans. In fact, many folks will be candied-out by the time Halloween rolls around, so offering some healthy, dog-safe fruits and vegetables will be appreciated.
Be sure you know exactly which fruits and vegetables are safe for your pooch and which to avoid. Then you and your guests can share the Halloween fun with Fido and Mr. Socks!
Keep a Close Watch on What Your Pet Eats
Even if you have some pet-safe snacks on hand for Halloween, you’ll want to monitor portion control with your pet – too much of a good thing can give your animal tummy trouble. Plus, pets shouldn’t eat too much each day – you want your cat or dog to stay at a healthy weight.
For many families who are hosting Halloween parties, the simplest strategy will be to ask guests not to feed your animal. The best safety protocol might even be to keep your pet closed away in a quiet space away from all the tasty temptations so you know they are going to bed safe and healthy on All Hallows Eve.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe and Calm on Halloween
Even if you have secured the candy away in a safe place and found the perfect cat or dog Halloween costume, your animal might still be a little spooked on this scary holiday. Halloween presents a number of possible stress triggers for your pet, and it’s your responsibility to create a safe space for them, make sure they don’t get lost, and set them up for success with a great wellness routine.
Common Pet Stress Triggers on Halloween
The way people celebrate the Halloween holiday is inherently loud and playful, but this can be a nightmare for your dog or cat. The noises associated with Halloween might stress out your pet, from the constantly ringing doorbell to the chatter and shouting in the streets. Costumes can also be a stress trigger for pets. They might feel afraid if they can’t recognize you. If you have a party, crowds and strangers may overwhelm your pet.
Create a Safe Space
If you are worried your pet will experience Halloween stress, the best thing you can do for them is create a safe space away from all the action. It’s always safer for pets to be inside on holidays like Halloween. If your pet is very sensitive, or if you’re having a party, you might consider creating a little haven for them in a bathroom or closet filled with their bed, blankets, and favorite toys. Plus, this helps ensure a scaredy cat or panicked pooch doesn’t bolt out the door and get lost.
If your pet is afraid of strangers, you might want to reconsider dressing up or wearing a mask on Halloween. Owners are a source of comfort for pets, so if you disappear and are replaced by someone they don’t know, it can be very traumatic. If you’re planning to leave home on the holiday, you might consider hiring a pet sitter to take care of your dog or cat if they have separation stress or noise aversion.
Keep Identification on Your Pet
In case your pet does manage to escape, or if you have to keep them outside on Halloween, it’s crucial to make sure their identification is updated and securely attached. Make sure your pet’s collar fits well and won’t slip off of their neck, and ensure that the metal identification tag is also well attached. And even if your pet wears a collar with identification, it's always recommended that you microchip your cat or dog as well. If they are found, the first thing a shelter will do is scan for a microchip, so chip your pet and keep your contact information updated. If you have a pet that is prone to running away during times of stress, it’s best to keep them safely confined away from the noise for the night.
Another tip: make sure you have a recent photo of your pet in case they run away and you need to make “Lost” posters.
Maintain Your Pet’s Wellness with Calming Support
When your pet has a consistent wellness routine, they are better able to handle stressful situations like Halloween – especially if that routine incorporates calming support, like a daily amount of our Paw CBD Calming Oil for Dogs or Paw CBD Cat Calming Tincture. By establishing a daily habit that makes it easier for your cat or dog to tap into their existing well of calm and feel security even during tense or scary events, you give them the best chance at enjoying Halloween and all their other fun days with you!
Halloween Pet Safety Starts with You
We know animal Halloween costumes, candy, and parties are a blast, but your pet’s safety should come first. Your dog or cat might be ready to party with you this year, but they also might need a little extra TLC. Be prepared to adapt your holiday a little for your pet’s safety by choosing an appropriate costume, keeping a close eye on the candy, and party snacks, and giving your pet plenty of love and support if they’re feeling stressed out.