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Halloween Pet Safety Tips


In 2019, according to the National Retail Federation, nearly 20 percent of pet parents dressed up their pet(s) for Halloween. Spending on pet costumes is expected reach nearly $500 million. That was then. This year, all bets are off. However, Halloween isn’t being cancelled – though it will look very different, depending on where you live.

When trick or treating, masks will be required or suggested to go with whatever costumes all humans (except the youngest children) wear. However, dogs – even in costume – should not wear masks. It may appear to be cute, but there’s health reason to do this as dogs (or for that matter other pets do not spread COVID-19).  In fact, wearing a mask is potentially dangerous for brachycephalic breeds – dogs with limited airways, like the Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Pug, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu and others.

Costumes and Pets

Many dogs and cats may not be overjoyed about the idea of dressing as a duck or Spiderman -but tolerate the experience in exchange for treats. Associating the costume with treats, and allowing the pet to acclimate slowly often works.

This is never a good look

Still, no matter what you do some pets appear humiliated (likely because they are) or just stand there and shake. For these pets, often wearing a banana or bat ears may be far more readily accepted than a costume. Or purchase a bow tie and just slip it over your pup’s collar – most dogs won’t even notice.

When dogs are accustomed to wearing a coat in cold weather may more likely already be accustomed to wearing something, so a costume is just another thing to wear.

Trick or Treating Dog Tips

For dogs who do join the trick or treaters here are some safety tips:

  • Keep your dog on a leash. A retractable leash is not recommended because trick or treaters can trip over it.
  • Check what’s in the pet’s trick or treat bag. Just as with children, be skeptical of anything not packaged.
  • Also, just like children, too many treats all at once can cause an upset tummy.
  • A you stroll through the neighborhood with your dog in costume – be respectful of people who may be afraid of dogs.

Once You Get Home


  • Raisins – even only a few – can make dogs very sick
  • Chocolate is toxic, particularly dark chocolates
  • Some chocolate candies and sugarless candies may contain a sugar substitute called Xylitol, which is toxic.
  • Candy can cause an upset tummy – but eating those wrappers with the candy may be even worse

Artificial light in Jack ‘o lanterns may be safer than a real candle which can exuberant pet can knock over and cause a house fire.

When those ghosts and goblins appear the door, some pets can become very anxious, even with the continuous doorbell ringing. Tips Here on easing anxiety.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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