The scariest night of the year can also be a dangerous one for trick-or-treaters who add their costumed pet to the mix. Veterinarian Gena Fagerberg said Halloween can be fun, but pet owners should aim to make their dog or cat safe and comfortable.
“If you're going to try to put a mask on them, make sure that their vision is unobstructed; and two, the dog or cat doesn't know what you're doing, and it can freak them out,” Fagerberg said. “Similar to sometimes, you know, if you put a costume on yourself or your kids, the dog will suddenly act like they've never met this person before and will be a little freaked out by it.”
Fargerberg cautioned dogs or cats should never get chocolate, which contains a stimulant and can be toxic. Other sweet treats given to pets may also be fatal.
“With a lot of candy nowadays, they are doing artificial sweeteners like xylitol, and so it can actually lead to toxicity and also can lead to severe drops in their blood sugar, which can be life-threatening,” Fargerberg said.
Another suggestion is to make sure your dog is tagged or microchipped and attach reflective material to their costume to improve visibility for motorists should they wander off.
If your pet stays home, Fagerberg said ringing doorbells and strangers coming to the house can be stressful and advises securing the pet in the home away from all activity.
Contact WFYI All Things Considered newscaster and reporter Terri Dee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @terrideeisme.