As Halloween approaches, people delight in spooky shivers and blood-curdling screams. Pets—not so much. Most of our furry friends wouldn’t mind being passed over for the costume parade, the stream of strangers at the front door, or the eerie sound effects emanating from every house on the block. The one thing they may enjoy—dipping into your treat bag—is strictly off-limits for their safety. So, treat your pets to our five simple tricks that will make their Halloween less frightful.

#1: Ditch the dangerous duds

Dressing up your dachshund in a hot dog costume or your cat in a shaggy mane that rivals a lion’s is an adorable way to include them in the festivities. But, outfits can pose a serious threat to your pet’s safety. Buttons, ties, ribbons, belts, and zippers are easily chewed off and swallowed, potentially causing an intestinal obstruction requiring emergency surgery. Floppy ears and hoods can sink over your pet’s eyes, nose, and mouth, leading to a panic-stricken claustrophobia attack if she can’t breathe or see. Tight-fitting costumes can also constrict her neck or chest and cut off her airflow. Instead of dangerous duds, dress your pet in her most friendly outfither birthday suit. If you’d like to add some festive flair, consider a loose-fitting bandana. 

#2: Stay safe from stranger danger

The most welcoming of pets can become overwhelmed by the steady stream of trick-or-treaters at the door. Halloween parties can also concern timid pets, especially the strangers in outlandish costumes, scary sounds, and flickering lights. If the sound of the doorbell sends your pet on a mad dash to the door or under the bed, create a safe haven for her in a room far away from the front door or party action. Stock her sanctuary with novel toys, tasty treats, and a soft bed. Create treat puzzles that will entertain her while you’re preoccupied with your guests, and play music to drown out the doorbell. Plug in a pheromone diffuser to help keep your furry pal calm. If strangers make your pet frantic, our team can help with a variety of anti-anxiety options that will allow your pet to relax.

#3: Dish up doggy and kitty delights

Treat-bag-diving dogs and cats can end up in the emergency clinic after hours if you’re not careful, because your trick-or-treater’s haul can prove deadly, especially if it’s loaded with chocolate, xylitol, raisins, or other toxic treats. And, since your pet is unlikely to delicately unwrap each goodie before scarfing it down, the foil and plastic candy wrappers can cause an obstruction or severe gastrointestinal upset. Avoid temptation—for you and your pet—by placing candy bags well out of reach. (But, we won’t tell if you steal all your kid’s Reese’s.) Treat your pet to her own Halloween candy stash with treats baked especially for hercheck out the fishy cat cookies and peanut-butter and pumpkin pooch treats you can whip up for your pet with these recipes from Global Animal

#4: Detour around decorations

During your evening stroll around the block with your pooch, you may want to check out the spooky sights displayed by your neighbors. But, flying ghosts, lurching zombies, and shrieking screams can send your poor pup fleeing for cover, so choose a sparsely decorated route and avoid any haunted houses. Indoor decorations can also threaten your pet. Synthetic spiderwebs are the frontrunners in dangerous Halloween decorations for pets, who like to investigate these sticky, stringy webs of disaster. Play it safe and place your creepy decorations out of paws’ reach. 

#5: Knock off the noise

During a scary movie, you know the moment something horrifying is coming when the eerie soundtrack picks up volumesimilarly, unfamiliar, spooky sounds can increase your pet’s anxiety. Avoid playing these sounds in your home and stick with Halloween songs instead of horror movie sounds. 

This Halloween, your pet will beg for our treats rather than scary tricks. But, if your four-legged friend runs afoul of a Halloween prank, call us right away. Chocolate toxicity, costume consumption, and anxiety are no match for our veterinary team.