Keep Your Pets Safe This Halloween

Published on October 25, 2023

More of us will celebrate Halloween this year since the start of the pandemic, but what’s a night of fun frights for humans, can be a horribly haunting holiday for our pets. Frightened pets are more likely to bite, scratch or bolt from your house to escape perceived danger, and certain foods can make them sick. So the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment and its division, Denver Animal Protection (DAP), offer this sound advice to keep your dogs and cats safe when ghosts and goblins invade our neighborhoods.

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Trick-or-Treating Can Terrify Toto and Tabby

Be aware that people dressed in costumes and masks—even people they know—may scare your pet or cause uncertainty. Constant knocking or doorbells ringing can also put a pet on edge, especially since instinctually they just want to protect their people. Consider crating or keeping your dog in a quiet enclosed room with a TV or music on for company and something to chew on.

Dressing Up Your Pet May Bring Them Down

Pet owners will spend a scary amount of money on pet costumes in 2023—about $700 million. But if you don’t know that your pet enjoys being dressed up, be aware that wearing a costume can cause them stress. It can cause a pet to overheat or make it tough for them to breathe. It can also impair their vision. And pieces that can be chewed off become a choking hazard. Keep a close eye on pets who are dressed to impress—if they don’t seem to be loving the costume, it’s best to take it off.

Take Steps to Get Furry Fugitives Home

Crating is a good idea if you’re handing out candy, because each time the door opens Fido or Fifi have a chance to run out. Ensure your pet has an updated ID tag and has been microchipped, this will help if your pet does escape. If you’ve moved recently or changed your phone number, be sure to update your pet’s microchip with your vet. DAP offers low-cost microchipping to Denver residents on Saturday and Sunday from 9-11 a.m. at Denver Animal Shelter at 1241 W. Bayaud Ave. DAP also offers ID tags that allow anyone with a smartphone to scan a QR code to find a pet owners' contact information. If your pet does escape, check our lost pets page.

Sweets Can Be Scary

Humans love chocolate, but it’s bad for dogs. The higher concentrations of cocoa, the worse the reaction. The reason is dogs can’t break down the compound theobromine in chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic. It puts pressure on a dog’s nervous system and kidneys, which can lead to seizures, muscle tremors and vomiting. The artificial sweetener xylitol is also toxic for dogs, who can’t digest it and may experience a dangerous drop in blood sugar and liver damage. Keep sweets out of reach for the safety of your pets.

Hosting a Party Can be Hazardous

Be aware that party paraphernalia can cause harm to pets. Keep holiday food, candles, and lit jack-o’-lanterns out of your dog’s or cat’s reach. A wagging tail could cause an unexpected fire. Glow sticks also can be poisonous. Fake cobwebs and strung lights can entangle your pet. And electrical cords for decorations can be chewed and cause electric shock or burns. If you tuck your pets away in a quiet room, put a sign on the door so your guests don’t surprise your furry family members and vice versa.