Tips to keep your pet safe and healthy this Halloween

The Animal Humane Society is offering tips on how to keep your pet safe and healthy this Halloween.

AHS reminds pet owners that pumpkin is a safe food for dogs, cats, and critters as a treat. 

Looking ahead to trick-or-treating, if your pet is nervous around the sound of the doorbell and visitors, it's best to try to desensitize them.

Some tips include: 

  • Have someone knock on the door and then give your pet a treat. With enough repetitions, your pet will start to associate treats every time someone is at the door.
  • If your pet is shy or fearful by nature, or if they have a habit of door dashing, plan to confine them in a safe, quiet room as far away from the door as possible. Play a radio, TV, or white-noise machine to muffle noises. If your pet does end up getting out and going missing, check out lost and found pet resources and keep an eye on the Found Pets Bulletin Board.

Additionally, pet owners are reminded to keep lit candles and candy out of reach. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, while xylitol (a common sweetener) is toxic to dogs. If you intend to take your dog out trick-or-treating with the kids, make sure to have them on a leash and under an adult’s control. Also, make sure your pet is wearing a collar and ID tags with your phone number and address, and if your pet is microchipped, make sure your information is up to date. 

If you want to put your pet in a costume, it's recommended that you let them smell it and get familiar with it. Once you start putting the costume on for practice, offer lots of treats to create positive associations. If they freeze while wearing the costume, coax them with treats or a feather toy so they know they can move while wearing the outfit. Don’t force it. Some pets just hate wearing costumes. If your pet seems stressed out, find an alternative, like a Halloween-themed bandana, collar, or bow tie. 

For more information, visit the AHS website.