Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween is one of the most popular and fun holidays in the U.S.  The National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, estimates that more than 179 million Americans plan to take part in Halloween festivities this year, spending a record high of $9.1 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations!! That's a Howlin' ton of Halloween fun!  These days, Halloween isn't just for the kids, it's for pets too!

Keep your cats, dogs, and other pets safe with these Halloween Pet Safety Tips   #dogs #Halloween
Little Devil Phoebe wishes you a Happy Howloween!!

The National Retail Federation estimates that we'll spend $350 million on Halloween costumes for our pets alone!  I call that the Howl-o-ween Effect!  

Of those planning to celebrate Halloween this year, 16% of them will dress their pets up in costume.  Some of the most popular costumes expected for pets this year are a pumpkin, hot dog, bumble bee, devil, Batman character, dog, lion, pirate, ghost, and witch.  

10% of pet lovers will dress their pet in a pumpkin costume, 7% will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog, and 4% will dress them as a dog, lion, or pirate!

With all this Halloween fun expected for pets, here are a few Safety Tips to keep in mind:


If you're dressing your pet up in a costume, have your pet spend time wearing the costume before they wear it on Halloween.  Costumes may feel very strange to them.  If it's uncomfortable and your pet just doesn't want to wear a costume, please don't force it.  Not every pet will be happy wearing a costume.

Dressing your pet up for Halloween? Let your pet get used to wearing a costume before wearing it on Halloween.  More Halloween Pet Safety tips.
Don't put your pet in a costume that will make him uncomfortable. 
There are some really simple costumes available for dogs that literally just sit on top of your dog's back.  They're lightweight and velcro close under their belly.  A costume like this may be all your pet will agree to.  In the photo below, Icy is wearing a simple Headless Horseman pet Halloween costume that sits comfortably on her back.  This is actually my favorite Halloween photo of her!

This style of super simple pet Halloween costume is easy & not uncomfortable for many pets to wear. This is one of my favorites!  Halloween Pet Safety Tips
Icy is wearing a really simple Pet Halloween Costume that sits on her back comfortably. 
For pets who won't wear a costume, your pet can still look festive with a fun Halloween bandana, collar, bow tie, or stretchy elastic "necklace"  with Halloween themed colors or adornment on it.

Just like with training, use treats or a favorite toy to help create a positive association for your pet with the costume.  However, if they still hate wearing the costume just scrap it. Never make your pet do something, or wear anything, they're uncomfortable with.


In addition to getting your pet used to her own costume, help your pet get used to all the crazy and potentially scary costume's she will see on other pets and on people.  

Many pets are afraid of hats, umbrellas and other items people carry.  On Halloween, your pet is likely to see tons of weird apparel and accessories on pets and people.  They may see them in the street, at a Halloween event, or even at a party in your own home.  

Take some time to help your pet prepare for all the weird costumes they may see.  Try on some of your old costumes, invite a friend's pet over in costume, or take your pet to a store that sells costumes and try some on - with all the accessories!  Let your pet know there's nothing to fear.  Have some treats or a favorite toy handy when you do this.


Candy is toxic to pets.  Do you have a plan to keep candy well out of reach so your dog doesn't ingest something toxic?  Candy, especially chocolate and anything containing Xylitol can be very toxic to pets, pets have died from this!

I knew a lady who received a giant bar of chocolate as a gift.  She left it on the bed and her little dog got into it, scarfing it down while she was in the bathroom.  Tragically, her sweet dog did not survive the incident.

Some years ago, a young couple in our dog training class had a beautiful Lab puppy.  While they were on vacation her mother baby sat for the pup.  Somehow this little dog got into an empty bag of potato chips and suffocated.  It was the most heartbreaking thing.  Can you even imagine something so tragic happening to your pet?

I don't share these stories to shock or upset anyone, I share them to inform and warn people of potential dangers.  Please, make sure everyone in your household understands the danger of candy to pets!  Kids love to spill out their Trick or Treat bags onto the floor or the bed.  make sure they know how important it is never to leave any candy, chips or other sweets where a pet could possibly get into it.


One of the things that can freak your dog out is the constant ringing of the doorbell when Trick or Treaters arrive, or weird looking STRANGERS in your dog's mind!

My dogs used to go nuts in our former house where we had tons of kids Trick or Treating all night long.  After the first year, we put leashes on the dogs and let them sit in the front room with us waiting for the bell to ring. They were much more relaxed when they knew what was happening and could see the kids in their adorable costumes from a safe distance.  The kids got a kick out of seeing Icy and Phoebe too!

If you're entertaining on Halloween, make sure you have a plan to keep your pets away from the door!  Many pets end up in shelters due to the craziness of Halloween.  Keep your dog secure during trick or treat hours and during any parties you may be hosting at home.  


Be sure your dog or cat is wearing a collar with updated ID tags.  Collars can easily break off, especially when a pet is frightened and running scared.  In case your pet and their collar are lost, consider microchipping your cat or dog as well.

Halloween is a great time to Microchip your pet if you haven't already!  Any shelter or Veterinarian's office should be able to scan a microchip in the event your dog or cat goes missing.  If it's too expensive at your Veterinarian, many shelters offer microchipping at a very low cost.  Halloween might be a good time to take advantage of that. 

Halloween Pet Safety Tips to help keep dogs and cats Safe during Halloween fun   #pets #dogs #Halloween
Don't let Halloween fun turn into a nightmare.  Keep pets Safe!
Don't let Halloween turn all Sleepy Hollow on you and become a nightmare.  Keep your pets safe!

Do you have any Halloween Pet Safety Tips to share?  Please leave us a comment!  We love hearing from you!



  1. Great tips, friends! So important to keep everyone safe and to pay attention and makes sure our dogs are comfortable. Our former dog, Pip, loved costumes, but Ruby really has to be in the mood. We do have one for her this year, but will wait and see how she feels as to whether she keeps it on or not.

    1. Thanks Kristen, I'm glad you like our tips. Safety on Halloween is very important, it's easy to forget about staying safe when you're having so much fun. I hope Ruby will wear her costume long enough for you to get a photo, I'd love to see it!

  2. We will stay indoors during Halloween this year. Pierre will probably match Icy with the Olaf costume. It is adorable.

    1. Definitely a good idea to stay indoors on Halloween, especially at night. Pierre and icy would look so cute together in their matching costumes!

  3. I always put my dog's Halloween costume on him for a few minutes at a time at first, letting him wear it around the house until he gets used to it. On Halloween night, he's used to it and is more relaxed with all the excitement going on. I also give him a few holistic calming drops before trick-or-treat starts.

  4. Icy and Phoebe look adorable. Thanks for giving pet owners such great tips for a safe Halloween. Lola and Lexy won't dress up, and I don't get trick or treaters. But i am very careful with decorations.

  5. Great tips! I send a flyer with clients every year to remind them of safety measures! Love this!

  6. Thank you for sharing these great Halloween tips! We probably won't be venturing out this year...

  7. Great tips! We forget how frightening unknown things can be for dogs, we tend to keep them indoors at nighttime so they don't come across any trick or treaters!

  8. It's always helpful to remind people about pets at Halloween, it can be so dangerous for them! Pet costumes have come a long way, I actually got Taffy a pair of angel wings that's a harness and devil wings for Dolly. I hope they wear them!

  9. Great tips! I see way too many people put their dogs in costumes that they absolutely hate. Boomer doesn't like things on her head, which is why she actually had the same exact headless horseman costume as Ice a few years ago. She's used to wearing harnesses, so she didn't mind it at all. Happy Halloween!

  10. I am one of those bad dog mom's who tried to get Babu to wear a viking crown, but then realized he does not like it so it just stays on for 2-3 minutes, long enough for me to get a good photo and off it goes!

  11. Great post and we must always remember to remind each other as I say rather be safe than sorry

  12. Mr. N lives in Portland so he's used to people dressed in strange things. We almost never get trick-or-treaters so it's not a big concern for us. The one time we did, we were scrambling to find candy.

  13. I'm quite glad we don't have to worry about Halloween up here. Pretty soon nobody will have to, as it's going to be replaced by the "black and orange day" :p

  14. I try to put a cute Halloween collar on the girls, but they won't have it.

  15. I love Icy's headless horseman costume! Halloween is big at our house, but the dogs don't participate. Great tips to keep everyone safe!

  16. Don't know what to expect in our new neighborhood this Halloween. Hope to sit on the porch and give out candy with the Boys dressed to make the kiddies smile. Be safe.

  17. Such important tips as candy and costumes and visitors can all be scary. Kilo usually stays down in his crate with frozen Kongs and Bullwrinkles.

  18. Awww...Happy Halloween, Icy and Phoebe! You two always make me smile. Thanks for helping us to have fun AND stay safe!

  19. I love this! You share not only great tips on how to make the most of Halloween with our pets, but your photos of Icy and Phoebe are adorable! Great reminder as well about keeping candy picked up and out of reach for our dogs.

  20. Aww Phoebe and Icy look adorable in their costumes! Great helpful tips too. Wow I had no idea we spend so much money on Halloween costumes!! Be safe & Happy Halloween!

  21. These are great tips! I'm working an event this weekend to raise funds for a local high school- a pet costume walk and contest. I can't wait to see all the amazing creativity. That being said, I know my dogs would not be able to join in because Gonzo would be too excited and Beau too timid.

  22. We aren’t taking our pups out this year cause we have two little girls this time so it would a hand ful. These tips are definitely worth the read before Halloween comes officially!

  23. Halloween is pretty quiet in our neck of the woods, thank goodness, so we don't have to worry about it much.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  24. Also ask what safety precautions are in place, what conditions the pet will fly in, etc. Ask your veterinarian if your pet is well enough to fly or if there are any special precautions you should take. hamster care