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Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs

By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President

Although Halloween is a favorite of adults and kids alike, the sights and sounds of Halloween can be more than a little scary for dogs. Treat your dog to a fun and safe holiday with these simple tips:

Keep dogs at home.
Since pets are part of the family, it can be tempting to take them along on your trick-or-treat rounds. But even the most socialized and laid-back pups can get spooked by strange decorations, frightening masks and weird costumes. To keep your pet’s stress level low, leave him at home with a food-dispensing toy, soothing music and a comfortable bed.

Bring cats inside.
In the days leading up to Halloween, ensure that your cat (especially if she’s black) is safe from mischief and pranksters by keeping her indoors. Alleviate any boredom with interactive toys or a new perch so she can watch the outdoors while safely inside.

Check identification.
With the constant opening and closing of the front door, it’s a good idea to keep dogs and cats confined in a separate room. But if your pet happens to slip by, a collar and ID with up-to-date information greatly increases your chances of getting them back safely and quickly.

Decorate with care.
Keep pets in mind when decorating your house. For example, place lit candles in a location that’s not easy accessible to curious kitties or knocked over by a wagging tail. Also check decorations for anything, especially wires and cords that could be chewed and/or swallowed.

Keep costumes simple.

It can be a lot of fun to dress up your dog or cat for Halloween (and then share the pics on Instagram, of course). Just make sure that your pet enjoys it as much as you do. If he does, choose an outfit that doesn’t interfere with his hearing, sight, breathing or movement. Also, if he shows signs of stress like panting or whining, quickly remove the costume and let him go au naturel instead.

Store candy out of reach.
Halloween treats are just as tempting to dogs (and some cats) as they are to us humans. However, candy that contains chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can make both dogs and cats ill if ingested. In addition, sugar-free candies that contain even small amounts of the artificial sweetener Xylitol are particularly toxic to dogs. Store goodies in a place your pets can’t get to, and teach children not to leave candy lying around.

Watch for and manage anxiety.

No one wants their dog to be stressed over a holiday that’s supposed to be fun. So watch for stress-induced behaviors like panting, pacing, yawning and lip licking. For dogs with a Voyce Health Monitor, owners can also check the Voyce Wellness Management Center. Elevated heart rate and/or respiratory rate are sure signs that he’s anxious. Take immediate steps to calm and soothe him.

 I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to

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Posted on Oct 29, 2015 by VOYCE Behavior & Training