Your Guide to a Pet-Safe Halloween

October 30, 2020

Puppy in jack-o-lantern

As Halloween rounds the corner and we put on our spooky costumes, it’s important to remember to look out for our furry friends. Like any holiday, Halloween comes with its own set of hazards for our pets. The Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure your pets don’t receive any tricks this year – just treats! Check out our handy safety tips and learn more about how you can keep your pets safe, spooky and healthy this Halloween!

Halloween Pet Safety

Glow sticks 

While they may be used to help keep kids safe out in the dark, glow sticks prove to be a foe to our pets.  Pets, especially cats, find glow sticks to be a lot of fun and often bite and puncture them. While most glow sticks are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste. Pets who bite into them may begin drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste and reaction.  

Small plastic toys or costume accessories 

Costume accessories are the best way to complete your boo-tiful look and small toys are lots of fun for kids, but they are both just as appealing to pets. Small toys or costume accessories pose a choking hazard to our four-legged friends and the plastic can be toxic. Be sure to keep items like these out of paws’-reach. 


Whether you prefer chocolate or gummies, candy is for trick-or-treaters, not our animal counterparts. Unfortunately, several popular Halloween favorites are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs. Sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol, may be a better alternative for humans, but can be life threatening for dogs when ingested. In order to keep your pets safe, double check that you left your candy bowls and bags on high counters so they cannot get to them. 

Dressing up in costume and taking a neighborhood stroll is even better when your furry friends are involved. There’s just a couple of things you’ll want to keep top-of-mind! 

Pet-safe treats 

Pets deserve treats too! Treats including festive ones with pumpkin are perfectly fine to give to your pets. But be sure to read any labels on products you are unsure about before giving it to your pets. You can take a more in-depth look at foods that could cause a problems for your pets with APCC’s full list

Pet costumes 

Pet costumes can be super fun and can make for some incredible photos– but only if done safely and if it doesn’t cause your pet stress. We recommend that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it, and don’t put them in any costume that has dangling, loose parts or headpieces. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury. So, be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.

Pet identification 

Pet IDs can be a lifesaver in finding a lost pet on Halloween – or any day of the year! Tags don’t have to be boring, either. There are plenty of fun, cute and even Halloween-themed pet IDs to pick from! On Halloween, there are a lot of extra people on the streets and that, combined with strange costumes, can spook pets and cause them to bolt. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he or she wears a reflective collar, is securely leashed and has proper identification attached.

The key to safely enjoying any holiday with your furry friend is prevention. Keep toxic items well out of reach and ensure that you are prepared for whatever activities you have planned. 

If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.