Halloween is just around the corner, and while it’s time for treats and costumes, it’s crucial pet owners know the Halloween safety tips for keeping their four-legged friends safe.
From choosing the right Halloween pet safety kit to attending pet-friendly Halloween events near you, we share everything you need to know about how to keep your pets safe and stress-free during the spooky season.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Halloween has evolved from being a largely American tradition to being widely embraced by Australian’s nationwide.
But it’s not just the kids who are getting in on the action; our pets are becoming a significant part of the Halloween festivities as well.
Aussie pet owners are increasingly including their furry family members in the celebrations, decking them out in adorable costumes that range from the cute to the downright hilarious.
Whether it’s a dog dressed as a superhero or a cat donning a witch’s hat, pets are undeniably adding an extra layer of fun to the holiday.
But as Halloween continues to grow in popularity across Australia, it’s essential to ensure that our pets also have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Pet safety at Halloween
From costume safety to avoiding toxic treats, being mindful of our pets’ well-being is crucial to having a fun and safe Halloween.
And while trick-or-treaters might excite the kids, it often isn’t the same for our pets.
In fact, the activities that make Halloween so popular, can be extremely terrifying for animals.
PETstock vet, Dr Tara Morris, shares tips for owners on how to keep their pets safe and calm.
Halloween pet costume safety
While dressing our buddies in spooky outfits will add to the excitement of the day, a costume should not neglect their comfort or cause distress.
It’s important to look out for signs that may indicate that your pet is uncomfortable or anxious.
“If dressing your pet in a costume this year, ensure that it isn’t forced,” says Dr Tara.
“Make sure it doesn’t restrict your pet’s movements and that their limbs aren’t caught on any fabric.
“The costume should not be too loose either as that may be a tripping hazard.”
How to choose a pet-friendly costume
When it comes to dressing up your pet for Halloween, safety should be your top priority.
Here are some tips to ensure your pet’s costume is safe and comfortable:
- Material: Choose breathable, non-toxic materials that won’t irritate your pet’s skin.
- Fit: Make sure the costume fits well. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose, as this can cause discomfort or even injury.
- Ease of movement: Your pet should be able to move freely in the costume. Check for any parts that might restrict movement or cause tripping.
- Visibility: Ensure the costume doesn’t obstruct your pet’s vision, hearing, or ability to breathe.
- Test run: Before the big day, do a test run to see how your pet reacts to wearing the costume. If they seem distressed, it might be best to ditch the outfit.
Signs of costume distress
Watch for these signs that your pet is uncomfortable in their costume:
- Excessive scratching or biting at the costume
- Whining or vocalising discomfort
- Attempting to remove the costume
- Changes in behaviour or body language
If you notice any of these signs, remove the costume immediately.
Halloween treats that are toxic to pets
Halloween brings an array of sweets and treats that can be harmful to pets.
While the lollies and chocolates from the trick-or-treat jar are extremely enjoyable for us humans, they can be highly toxic for pets.
“Ensure all lollies and chocolates are stored out of reach, and if you have an extra curious pet, utilising containers and cupboards that are child proof will keep their paws off,” says Dr Tara.
For those looking to get involved with jack-o-lantern carving, nibbling on the uncooked pumpkin can cause discomfort in many pets.
“Pumpkin is a great and nutritious treat for dogs when cooked; however, be mindful that there are no signs of rot when feeding them the remains of your carved jack-o-lantern and only very small amounts.
“If you’re concerned that your pet has ingested something toxic, contact your local vet immediately.
“While the lolly jar is off-limits, dogs can still indulge in some guilt-free snacking through a range of pet-friendly treats.”
Having a constant stream of trick-or-treaters can cause extreme anxiety in pets, particularly those who are already prone to stress.
It can also be very dangerous if they find the chance to escape through the open front door.
“When opening the door for guests, ensure your pet doesn’t run outside. Keep them in a separate room or on a lead if you feel they may be at risk of running off,” says Dr Tara.
“Also ensure they’re wearing a collar with an ID tag and that their microchip details are up to date just in case they do make a dash for the door.
“Set aside a familiar and quiet place for your pet to rest and escape the noise, surrounding them with engaging comfort toys to help ease their anxiety while keeping them entertained.”
Simple Halloween pet safety tips
Pet Insurance Australia has some easy tips to keep pets safe and happy this Halloween.
- Make a safe room – pop your pet in this area if you are unable to 100% supervise them or if they suffer from any anxiety-related conditions.
- Only use dress-ups when your pet is being supervised.
- Encourage guests to only treat your pet with specially designed pet treats and not human food.
- Remove rubbish quickly and ensure rubbish bins are secure.
- Keep cats inside for the night.
For further information head to www.petinsuranceaustralia.com.au