Santa Barbara Humane Offers Suggestions for Keeping Pets Safe and Stress-free on Halloween

With costumes and masks, scary decorations, and a constant stream of trick-or-treaters at the door, Halloween can be downright spooky for pets. To ensure that both you and your pets have a happy and safe Halloween, Santa Barbara Humane offers these simple tips:

  • Keep your stash of Halloween candy out of reach of your pet. While candy may be a delicious treat for humans, chocolate, gum, raisins, and the sugar substitute xylitol can all cause serious problems for your pet.
  • Though Halloween decorations can add to the spooky atmosphere, they can also be hazardous to your pets. Jack-o-lanterns can quickly become a fire hazard if a curious cat or dog knocks them over, and decor like fake cobwebs and plastic spiders can be choking hazards. Make sure these items are placed somewhere your pet can’t reach.
  • Remember that not all animals enjoy wearing costumes. Dressing up an unwilling pet may cause undue stress. If your pet does like being dressed up, make sure that their costume fits well and isn’t cutting off circulation or preventing them from breathing or moving.
  • Trick-or-treaters coming to the door, knocking, and ringing the doorbell can scare animals. If you have a pet that gets particularly scared or worked up when they hear a doorbell, it might be wise to make plans for distributing candy that doesn’t involve people coming to your door.
  • Your cat or dog may be frightened by people in Halloween costumes, especially costumes that partially or entirely obscure faces. They may have trouble recognizing people, even people they know well, when they are in costume. This means it’s extra important to keep an eye on them when trick-or-treaters come to to the door.
  • If you know trick-or-treaters will frequent your house, consider creating a safe space for your pet. Keep your animal closed in a comfortable room so they cannot slip out while you are handing out treats.
  • A collar with an ID tag and/or a microchip helps ensure your pets’ safe return if they do get out. Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification, and double-check that your pet’s microchip information is up to date by visiting If you are unsure if your cat or dog has a microchip, your veterinarian can scan them for a chip to confirm.

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