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As Halloween celebrations become more popular each year, it is important to remember that our pets may not enjoy the ‘spooktacular’ festivities as much as we do. Halloween decorations, food and costumes can have a disastrous impact on our pet’s health, and ‘Trick or Treaters’ can be frightening to even the calmest of pets. Follow these Halloween pet safety tips to help keep your pets safe and stress-free.

Identification
Halloween can be a scary experience for our pets. The noisy commotion of Trick or Treaters and the repetitive door knocks and bell ringing can be enough to unsettle any pet. Combine this stress with extra street-traffic, loud noises or fireworks and it’s a recipe for disaster. Some pets may find themselves doing anything to escape the noise, including running away from home.

In NSW, dogs and cats are required to be microchipped and registered with your local council. Not only is this the law, but having your pet microchipped can help reunite you with your pet should they become lost. Just remember to update your contact details on your pet’s microchip records if you move address or change phone numbers.  A collar with an ID tag is also a great idea.

Costumes
Dressing up at Halloween can be a lot of fun, but not so much for our pets. Forcing our pets to wear costumes at Halloween can be uncomfortable and cause unnecessary stress. If you do decide to dress up your pet, be sure to only use costumes that are specifically designed for pets. We recommend you try the costume on your pet prior to Halloween to make sure they are happy to wear it and that it doesn’t restrict their ability to see, breath, eat, drink or move. Be sure to check the costume for any potential choking hazards or any dangly parts that could get caught and never leave your pet unsupervised while wearing a costume.

Treats
One of the best parts about Halloween, especially for kids, is collecting lots of yummy lollies which can also be tempting for our pets. Some Halloween treats, such as chocolate, can be toxic for pets and make them very ill. Lolly wrappers can be a potential choking hazard and can cause a painful obstruction requiring veterinary care. To avoid harm, it is important to keep any of these kids’ treats out of reach of our pets. Pet-friendly treats are a great substitute!

Decorations
Many people enjoy decorating their homes and yards with ghoulishly frightening decorations at Halloween but these can pose a safety risk to our pets. Smaller items can be a choking hazard and other items like candles can burn our pets or even cause a fire if knocked over. Battery-powered or electrical decorations can be a safer option but it’s important that these are not accessible to your pet. Electrical cords can give your pet a shock if chewed and batteries can be harmful if they are swallowed. Popular jack-o-lanterns are not pet-friendly and can cause blockages if eaten.

Provide a Safe Place
Halloween brings a flurry of activity with many neighbours knocking on your door, and too many strangers can be scary for your pet. Giving your pet a safe place to hide is a great way to reduce stress. A secure room or crate away from the front door will help reduce their exposure to the celebrations and can help keep them calm, and playing music or turning on the TV can drown out other noises. Giving your pet something else to focus on, like a yummy long-lasting treat, is a great way to distract them from the celebrations. If you think your pet may be restless in the evening, be sure to take them for a nice long walk to tire them out before the trick or treating begins.