Talk about spooky: Halloween marks the second most common holiday for pets to go missing in the U.S. With the constant doorbell ringing, guests coming in and out, and scary costumes, it’s no surprise the holiday ranks just under the Fourth of July for missing pets. In addition, it can be a dangerous holiday for other reasons. With toxic candy left out and an increase in pranks, it’s best to keep a close eye on your pets during the holiday.

Luckily, there are ways to prepare for the spooky day ahead of time so you and your pet can have a safe Halloween.

Scary Halloween Pet Stats

  • Halloween is the second most common holiday for pets to get lost
  • The week of Halloween is the Pet Poison Helpline’s busiest time of year, when emergency calls increase by 12%
  • Noise aversion to sounds like doorbells, knocking, and screams affect more than one-third of dogs and cats
  • Around 20% of lost pets go missing after being scared by a loud noise
  • Some organizations report an increase in pranks and crimes against pets during Halloween

Preparing For a Safe Halloween

  1. Noise Desensitization

    A safe Halloween starts with preparation. For some, this may start with introducing your dog or cat to the scary sounds of the holiday. Have a family member ring the doorbell and treat your pet each time they don’t react, or teach your dog to associate the doorbell with going to their “place” – a crate or mat in a separate room. You can also play loud noises on your phone, such as children screaming, to expose your pet to the sounds that might come up that night.

  2. Supplies

    Next, you’ll want to make sure you have all of the right supplies to keep your dog safe. If you’re going to be handing out candy at the front door all night, consider purchasing a doggy gate to block off your dog into a safe section of the home. Your pet may be more comfortable in a different room of the house, or in their crate. You could also consider a white noise machine to keep your pet from getting upset at all of the noises and doorbell ringing. Make sure you have plenty of calming chews and CBD oil on hand to keep your dog relaxed.

  3. ID & Microchip

    Now is a great time to check your dog’s microchip and make sure all of the information is up-to-date. That way, if your pet does get lost, it will be easier for shelters and vets to identify you as the owner. Also, make sure your dog has a well-fitting collar with a tag that includes all of your contact information.

Consider Skipping The Pet Costume

Let’s face it: dressing our pets up in a fun costume is adorable. In fact, 20 percent of pet owners plan on putting their pets in costume this October. For many pets, this can be enjoyable and well-tolerated. However, not all pets enjoy wearing costumes. Try your pet’s costume on prior to Halloween to get your dog uses to wearing it. If they seem uncomfortable or display unusual body language, skip the costume! It’s more important that your pet is comfortable and doesn’t have any extra irritations that may cause them to run on Halloween. Maybe your pet feels too restricted or doesn’t like anything on their head. Opt for a cute fall-themed collar or Halloween bandana instead!

Keep the Candy Away

There’s a reason calls to the Pet Poison Helpline shoot up around Halloween. Whether it’s the candy bowl left by the front door, your kid’s chocolate stash in their bedroom, or sweets dropped on the sidewalk, it’s important to be extra vigilant about what your dog has access to and what they are getting into in the days before, during, and after Halloween.

Of all candy, chocolate is one of the most toxic to dogs. As a general rule, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. Even a tiny bit can kill a dog, especially smaller dogs. Other sweets can be dangerous as well, leading to pancreatitis or eventual kidney failure if consumed too much. Some “sugar-free” candies and gums also include xylitol, which is extremely dangerous to dogs. Even a small amount can lead to seizures or death.

If you suspect your dog has gotten into any chocolate or candy, call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

As an alternative, pure pumpkin is a very healthy and safe treat for dogs. There are many recipes you can make with it to keep your dog satisfied and distracted.

Make Halloween Enjoyable For Your Pet

A happy, calm, and distracted pet is usually a safe pet on Halloween. As fun as it can be to take your dog Trick-or-Treating or have them greet guests at the front door, some dogs are safer and more relaxed at home. To help your dog stay safe and calm, give them Stress Releaf Hemp Oil the morning of Halloween and throughout the day, so they are relaxed once Trick-or-Treaters or guests start arriving. Treat them to yummy Peanut Butter Carob Stress Releaf Chews or Sweet Potato Pie Digestive Chews. For cats, use Feline Stress Releaf with delicious CatNip to give them a less spooky holiday.

How Long Before Halloween to Give Pet CBD

All pets are different, so find out your cat or dog’s ideal dosage and timing ahead of the holiday. In general, you can start administering CBD to your dog a few days before Halloween (if you don’t already administer it daily.) At a minimum, give your dog CBD the morning of October 31 or at least an hour before Trick-or-Treating or your event starts. CBD has a half-life of 9 hours but depending on your schedule of events, you may want to re-administer throughout the day/night.