Protect Your Pets From Halloween Dangers

As with all holidays, there are precautions we need to take so that our pets are safe and healthy. Rushing Max to the emergency vet is never fun and can be completely nerve-wracking. Halloween can be lots of fun and full of candy, trick-or-treating, and dressing up but make sure your pet is safe.

Here are a few tips to make sure it’s a great Halloween:

  1. Keep the candy away! That bowl you’re keeping by the door for the kids who come knocking on Halloween is a bowl of temptation for your pets. Keep it somewhere they can’t reach or access and on the night of Halloween, it might be best to have your dog and cat stay in another part of the house away from the front door so they aren’t stressed with the strangers coming by and noise.
  2. Decorations like pumpkins can cause some stomach upset if they try to gnaw on it. They aren’t toxic but can upset their bellies. If your dog or cat seems to be curious of the pumpkin, move it onto the porch and away from them.
  3. Be careful when keeping candles lit. Your pet could accidentally knock it over and cause a fire. A curious cat might run the risk of being singed if she tries to sniff it.
  4. When opening your door to dish out the candy, make sure your pets don’t dart out. If they are the type to run to the door, keep them in another room for a few hours till the trick-or-treating is over.
  5. Make sure your pets have proper id in case they do get out!
  6. If your pet doesn’t like costumes, then forget about dressing her/him up. Maybe a bandana is enough for halloween.
  7. If you do dress your pet up, check the costume for any small pieces, loose bits, or anything that your pet might ingest or get snagged on. Also check that it doesn’t impeded your pet’s ability to walk, breathe, see, or hear.
  8. Wires from plugged in decorative lights should be kept tucked away from where you pet might trip over them, chew on them, or get tangled up.
  9. Keep your black cats inside. Halloween tends to be a time of year that those who aren’t pet friendly might try to torment a black cat. It’s sad but true.

Image from

10 Tips to Keep Pets Safe at Halloween

Decorations and costumes are out in the stores along with aisles and aisles of mini sized candy for Halloween. If you participate in the spooky holiday make sure your four-legged friends are kept safe from treats and tricks.

10 Tips To Keep Pets Safe During Halloween

  1. No treats – chocolate and candy that has sugar and artificial sweeteners and dyes are not good for pets.
  2. Keep the pumpkins and decorations out of reach – ingesting or chewing on your jack-o-lantern can cause an upset belly.
  3. If you string up lights, keep them high and out of the way – your cat doesn’t need to get tangled in them and your dog doesn’t need an electric jolt, he’s not Frankenstein.
  4. If you light up your pumpkin with a candle keep it somewhere safe – a curious cat could get a burn and a clumsy dog could knock it over and start a fire.
  5. Keep your pets inside as the holiday approaches and the night of Halloween – some animals have been hurt by deviant people and black cats seem to be susceptible to being harmed.
  6. When opening the door to greet a group of trick-or-treaters keep your pets in another room – scared pets may dart outside or become overly stressed with the commotion.
  7. Keep ID on your pets – if your pet escapes, a tag and microchip are your best bet to getting them back home safely and quickly.
  8. Costumes for your pets can be fun for you but not always them – if your dog or cat does not like having articles of clothing placed on them, it can cause major stress. They might chew, tear, or swallow pieces of it as they try to get off their bodies.
  9. Elvis has left the building, but what about the sequins? Check that there aren’t any dangling pieces or small plastic pieces that your dog or your friend’s dog could swallow if you do dress up your pet.
  10. If you take your pet to a halloween party at your local dog park or meetup group a halloween bandana might be the best costume – dogs can play rough and a costume could get torn and tangled around your buddy. Other dogs might not know how to react to your dog if she’s all dressed up and react with fear or aggression.

Image from Chesterfield Vet Clinic

Halloween Costumes For The Fidgety Dog

Are you planning on attending a Halloween dog parade or a party at your doggie daycare and can’t think of what to dress little Rorie up as? Sure, there’s the costumes that you can buy that look great if your dog sits so the front legs pose as the legs of the costume (ex: prisoner, cop, Elvis) but when they stand up and walk around, it’s all out of whack. Plus, you’re not sure if the other dogs might tug on the fake little arms or if your dog will rip it while she’s playing.

There’s also the fear of the costume having small plastic bits that other dogs or your dog might bite off and swallow. This weekend, while looking to see what new trends were out there for pet costumes, I came across several costumes that could work well for a dog who may be socializing and trick or treating and needs to look great.

I found a series of these online doing a google image search for pet costumes. The costume is simple: take a harness and decorate it with a little stuffed person on top to create any of the following: a cowboy atop his trusty steed (your dog), a knight going into battle, a headless horseman, or a jockey racing to the finish line.

Basically, your dog is a horse and a super useful one to any one of these little stuffed guys who need him. The costume itself is easy enough to put on your dog and shouldn’t feel much different from wearing a harness. If your dog is active and hyper, a full blown costume might make her feel confined. This simple, yet funny, costume is light, easy, and can be bought or created at home if you’re crafty.

This fireman costume is available at many pet stores and online stores. It’s a simple costume with no dangling pieces and should fit and feel like a dog jacket. If your dog is used to wearing a vest or raincoat during cold and rainy weather, then this costume should be fairly comfortable for her. The only part that shouldn’t stay on for long is the hat. The elastic that holds it on could start to dig into the dog’s neck or another dog could grab it and pull it off.

Playing and running shouldn’t be a major problem and is easy to put on and take off. To complete the look, you can see if your local pet store sells black dog booties.

If your dog is a goofball and hyper, go for a simple costume. One that is easy to take off and easy for your dog to wear. You don’t want to put wings and hat on a dog that will just turn around and try to chew it off or run in circles because she’s not sure what’s on her and freak out. Pick a costume that is light, has little to no extra hanging bits like fake jewels or fake arms, and doesn’t have glitter.

One more final costume style that will work for a fidgety dog is a simple one that fits like a vest on your dog and may feel like a blanket on her back. It clips closed under the chest and belly and some have a stuffed part on the top depending on the costume. Your dog could be a dragon, a cat, a bee, a pumpkin, or a bunch of grapes.

Whatever you choose to dress your dog up as for Halloween, make sure it’s a costume that your dog will be ok wearing. Get your dog used to wearing the costume by putting it on for a few minutes everyday and offering praise and positive reinforcement as your dog wears it and walks around in it. That will cut down on any anxiety or tantrums the day of the party.

If your group is having a contest – hope you win first prize!

Upcoming Dog Events in the Washington, DC Area


So many fun and interesting events are occurring around this time in the Washington, DC area. If you live near there, or are planning on visiting with your dog, there are some great Halloween events going on, as well as information sessions, adoptions and giveaways.

Free Treat Giveaway

Alexandria PETCO

Alexandria, Virginia

October 24

If you bring your dog to the grooming salon on this day, you’ll receive a free bag of dog treats. They have different types of treats that could suit different types of dogs. It will occur all day, from 7:00 AM-7:00 PM. Good reason to finally get that dog groomed, as they offer baths, haircuts, nail trims ear cleaning and more.

DogCentric’s Spooktacular Canine Happy Hour and Costume Contest

Tommy Joe’s Restaurant

Bethesda, Maryland

October 27

This event is a benefit for the Washington Animal Rescue League. There will be dog treats and water for the dogs, and happy hour specials on food and drinks for owners 21+. The event is going to occur rain or shine, but they will provide outdoor heaters if it’s cold. Dogs must be on leash and vaccinated. It will start at 6:30, but the costume contest starts at 7:30 and goes on until 8:30. It is $10 cash at the door, and you can RSVP by emailing: [email protected].


Mutts Masquerade

Candy Cane City at Meadowbrook Park in Rock Creek Park

Chevy Chase, Maryland

October 31

This is a fun Halloween event, which will include a 2-mile fundraising walk, trick or treating for dogs, vendors of upscale pet products, dog costume contest, microchips and veterinary booths. Very informative but also in the season’s spirit! This will occur from 8-11 AM, and it costs $25 to register an individual, or $15 for children under 12. Usually around 400 people show up. Click here for more information on registration.

Pawfest 2009

The Washington Animal Rescue League

Washington, DC

November 1

This is a post-Halloween event, and will hold a shelter open house, a haunted medical center, red-tag adoption specials, refreshments, a community yard sale, live music and assorted family activities. It is free, and will occur from 12:00-4:00 PM.

New Dog Guardian Orientation Class

The Washington Animal Rescue League

Washington, DC

November 6, 20

This is a free lecture that will feature the league’s certified trainer, who will teach you all about house, chew, training, socialization and more. It will occur from 6:00-7:30 PM, and you must RSVP, as space is limited: [email protected]. This is a humans-only talk, no dogs!

Upcoming Connecticut Pet Events

It’s autumn time in Connecticut, meaning it’s full of foliage and fun. This month is also packed with dog events! Make sure to grab a costume for your dog for all of the upcoming dog parades and costume contests going on!

dog-costumeFourth Annual Dog Walk and Festival

Main Street-Paradise Green

Stratford, Connecticut

October 10 (rain date: October 11)

This is an event which begins with a one-mile walk on Main Street. It will continue at the the Green, with music, food, vendors, crafts, microchip clinic, face painting, as well as dog contests such as best costume or best tail wagger. Dogs are welcome but have to be friendly, on leash and have up-to-date vaccinations. Make sure to read the guidelines for dogs. Registration starts at 10, the walk begins at 11 and contests begin at 12.

Second Annual Barktoberfest

Connecticut Humane Society

Newington, Connecticut

October 17, 2009

This is a family and pet friendly event, from 12:00-4:00 PM. Activities include a Haunted Trail for kids ($5 donation), pet portraits ($5 donation), flea market with pet supplies, baked goods and cider sale, reiki and vendors. Also costume contests for pets and pumpkin drawing contests for children. Pet adoptions as well. All proceeds go to the CT Humane Society.

Puttin On the Dog

Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

Greenwich, Connecticut

October 18

This is the 22nd annual run of this event, which is put on by Adopt-a-Dog. It goes from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, and is $10 for adults, $5 for children, and free for children under 5. It is attended by over 5,000 people each year, and is probably the biggest CT dog event. There will be 17 different dog contests, as well as cats and dogs for adoption, clowns, food and a children’s play area.

pitThird Annual National Pitbull Awareness Day

Edgerton Park

New Haven, Connecticut

October 24

This event is meant for the appreciation of Pitbulls, and will take place from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM. It was created by Jodi Preis, who has dedicated her life to the rescue of all bully breeds. This day is meant to show skeptics how beautiful Pitbulls are, despite their reputation.

Second Annual “Howl and Prowl” Costume Parade for Pets and People

Island Beach Commuter Parking Lot

Greenwich, Connecticut

October 31, 2009

The perfect Halloween Event! This parade will gather at 1, and then start at 1:30. It is sponsored by the local specialty pet store, Pet Pantry Warehouse and Adopt-a-Dog. All proceeds will go to Adopt-a-Dog. The parade will go down Greenwich Avenue, a main strip in the town full of extravagant luxury shopping, so all of the dogs in costumes will sure make a funny contrast! The parade terminates at the Delamar Hotel, and there will be a dog costume contest, prizes, and refreshments. Registration fee is $20/entry.

Upcoming New Jersey Dog Events

There are tons of great events coming up in the Garden State, many of which are benefits. Make sure to grab a costume for yourself and your dog for all of the Halloween fun in October!

dogsnjBurlington County Library 4th Annual Pet Expo

Burlington County Library

Westhampton, New Jersey

September 26, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM

The library will host this event, which includes many activities for pets, kids and adults. There will also be vendors, musical performances, and pet representatives that will answer questions. Free admission!

Carnivale of Dogs

The Wild Duck Pond

Ridgewood, New Jersey

October 3, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM

This event is sponsored by TD Bank and is benefiting the Companion Animal Advocates. It will hold free food, music, giveaways, tricky tray, pet psychic readings, pet photographer, pet caricaturist, canine massage, veterinarian, animal rescue groups, dog trainers, boarding services, dog beauty salon and the Second Annual Delaney Dog Show. You can enter your dog into a contest for $5, such as best kisser or best trick. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated, and you are encouraged to donate some pet food.

Run for Canines and their Human Companions

South Street Recreation Area of Loantanka Park

Morris Township, New Jersey

October 10, 2009, 10:00 AM

This is a dog and human race, but entry is limited. There is a limit of one dog per person, but there are prizes for the winners, and you can watch! It is being held to benefit St Hubert’s Animal Rescue Shelter.

puggHalloween Hocus Pocus


Ledgewood, New Jersey

October 18, 2009, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM

This is an annual Halloween event to benefit the Cascade Beagle Rescue and the Eastern German Pointer Rescue. You can get a Halloween-themed picture of your dog in costume for $10, and there will be a parade at 1:00 PM, along with a prize for best costume.

October Tails Halloween Themed Dog Walk

Verona Park

Verona, New Jersey

October 25 & 26, 1:00 PM-4:30 PM

This is the second annual dog-themed fundraiser for the Saint Barnabas Hospice and Pallative Care Center. It costs $10, and there will be several contests for dog costumes, like Most Original, Funniest or Best in Show. It is a family event, as there will also be many children’s activities, as well as vendors, food and beverages. Maria Milto of Classic Rock station Q104.3 will also be there. Rain date is November 1.