While your kids are busy counting down the days to Halloween, this holiday can be a stressful one for your pets. Your dog or cat might start exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety well before the calendar turns to October 31. Cats and dogs naturally feel curious about the decorations that suddenly appear at this time of year. If you choose to decorate for Halloween, we recommend keeping everything out of your pet’s reach and avoid lighting candles with an open flame. This is a good compromise between keeping your pet safe and enjoying the festive nature of the season.
 
Candy and Pets Don’t Mix
You and your kids should not share any Halloween candy with your pet, no matter how much she begs or looks up at you with sad eyes. That is because even a small nibble of candy could cause immediate and unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Any candy containing chocolate or artificial sweetener is especially harmful.

Keep Your Pet Away from the Front Door
The constant sound of the doorbell ringing and shrieks of excited young children can cause even the most docile pet to feel agitated. The stress may build to the point that your dog or cat tries to run out the door or even tries to bite the visitors standing on your steps. It’s best to avoid this scenario altogether by setting up a quiet room for him before trick-or-treating gets underway. He will feel more comfortable in a secluded room with his own food, toys, and pillow that out amongst the commotion. 
We also recommend isolating your pet if you decide to have a Halloween party. However, be sure to peek in occasionally so she knows that she hasn’t been abandoned. Keeping your pet in another part of the house on Halloween also protects her from those who might try to steal her or play a cruel prank. Black cats are especially at risk of falling prey to this type of behavior.
 
Costume or No Costume?
The adorable Halloween costumes made just for pets are hard to resist. As long as you pay attention to safety and your pet’s comfort, putting him in a costume will be fun and memorable. Before selecting a costume, be certain that it won’t cover your dog or cat’s mouth, nose, or eyes and that it fits well. You should plan to supervise your pet while he’s wearing the costume to make sure that he doesn’t try to chew off any piece of it.
You may contact us during regular business hours on Halloween if you do experience an emergency with your pet. After hours, please contact The Life Centre at 703-777-5755 in Loudoun County or Valley Veterinary Emergency at 540-662-7811 in Shenandoah Valley.

Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images