Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Captain Underpants… Whatever costumes your children choose for Halloween this year, there’s a good chance your human family members will want to involve your pets in the fun. And, while some pets will enjoy being part of the festivities (and might not even mind wearing costumes), the spooky holiday isn’t for every pet.

Here are a few tips to keep your sweet canine or feline from turning into a scary nightmare this Halloween.

Socialize Your Pet Throughout the Year

Some pet owners want to take their dogs with them when they make the rounds during Halloween. If that’s the case, make sure you socialize your dog throughout the year leading up to the big night, not just a week or two before, said Bank. That will ensure they are comfortable during interactions. Even when your pet is comfortable socializing, keep them leashed when they accompany you and your trick-or-treater.

Choose Comfy Costumes

Should you dress up your dog, cat or other pet in a Halloween costume?
“Yes and no,” said Bank. “From the yes perspective, it incorporates the pet into the family. But just as you go out of your way to choose the best costumes for your children, you should go out of your way to choose the best costume for your pet.”

The costume should, of course, be pet safe with no buttons, zippers or toxic substances. Beyond that, the pet must be comfortable and able to see and move freely.
“If it’s too big, the pet can trip. If the costume covers its eyes and they can’t see, they might get poked or otherwise hurt,” she said. “These are serious concerns.”
Problems which might lead to bites or worse.

Keep the Candy Away

They’re really not great for any of us, but many sugary treats can cause much more harm than a belly ache for our pets. Chocolate can be toxic to both cats and dogs, and many other ingredients in candy can spell trouble for our furry friends. Even the sugar-free varieties, which are often sweetened with xylitol—are dangerous. Be sure all candy is picked up and put into a safe location before bedtime. For a list of substances toxic to pets, visit the Pet Poison Helpline, and call our office if you think your pet might have accidentally consumed Halloween candy.

Following these tips, you are sure to have a happy and healthy Halloween for you and your pet! If you have any questions about keeping your pet safe during Halloween, give us a call.