Purdue vet offers tips on Halloween safety for pets
While Halloween can be a fun and exciting time, it also can be dangerous for pets, says Lorraine Corriveau, wellness veterinarian at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Our pets can truly be spooked by all of the noises and costumes at Halloween," Corriveau says. "Constant visitors to the door as well as the scary sights and sounds may cause some pets to become fearful. These pets could run away and become injured in a variety of ways."

Corriveau says dog owners should consider allowing their dog to spend Halloween in a quiet place inside the house with special treats, safe and secure from the goblins. Even if you have a fenced yard, Halloween is not a good night for dogs to be outside without supervision and restraint.

"Although the threat is probably minimal, many people are concerned about black cats during this time of year," Corriveau says. "It might be wise to keep all cats indoors. If you can't keep your cat indoors, consider a boarding facility or your family veterinarian. It may help to keep your friend safe."

Other risks to pets at Halloween include:

  • Keep pets away from Halloween candy. Chewy candy and gums can potentially choke pets or cause intestinal obstructions. Lollipop or popsicle sticks and foil wrappers also can become lodged in pets' throats or digestive tracts.

  • Chocolate, in particular, is toxic to pets, and even small amounts can cause heart problems and vomiting. It takes only 8 ounces of milk chocolate (and 1.5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate) to cause toxicity in a 10-pound dog. For cats, the toxic doses are even lower. If your pet consumes chocolate, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
  • Wagging tails and curious cats can create a fire hazard, especially around candles in jack-o'-lanterns and other decorative displays. Those decorations attract curious pets that can knock them over, causing burns and other damage.
  • Some decorations, especially those that are stringy (such as fake cobwebs), can cause life-threatening digestive conditions if ingested.
  • Costumes may frighten many pets and cause them to behave strangely, such as barking, trying to escape or even biting. Costumes on pets can be dangerous if they restrict normal movements or breathing or if they are secured with rubber bands that constrict.