Petrified Pooches & Scaredy Cats

Tricks for a pet-safe Halloween

By Dr. Brett Shorenstein, DVM Abingdon Square Veterinary Clinic

Halloween 2021 is hopefully going to be a lot more like it was in pre-pandemic days: the Village Halloween Parade is back on, and packs of kids will likely be trick-or-treating at townhouses and in apartment buildings again.

While Halloween is a treat for humans, it comes with many tricky hazards for pets. Whether you’re heading out with a costumed canine or staying in with a friendly feline, here are some tips for keeping your companion safe and serene on this spookiest of Holidays:

  • Unless you’re headed out for a costumed pet event, keep your pet indoors on Halloween night! This is especially true for black cats, which sadly, are often a target of people with bad intentions on this particular night

Kids will be trick or treating again this Halloween. But fun though the holiday is for humans, it can be dangerous for our pets, black cats are frequently victimized on this Holiday.

  • Speaking of pet costumes, I’m going to be a bit of a buzzkill and say I don’t recommend them for most animals—but I know some pet parents just can’t resist
  • You’ll want to make sure in advance that your Devil Dogs and Puptown Girls not to mention Feline Fiends feel comfortable in their costumes: be sure he or she can move freely, that the outfit doesn’t cause discomfort, and won’t block their vision
  • It’s also a good idea to remove any bells, noisemakers, or strings from the costume, as they can scare your pet. Keep an eye out for choking hazards too, be sure collars are neither too loose or too tight and take an extra look to assure that no dangling pom poms or other décor can be mistaken for a treat.

    When it comes to pet costumes, make sure your dog or cat is safe and comfortable, double check for choking or other hazards.
    Go to for fun pet-safe costumes. Your Devil Dog or Feline Fiend will love you for the extra care.

  • When expecting trick-or-treaters, put your dog or cat in a quiet place away from the door for the evening. Provide treats, toys, and a comfortable place to curl up and feel safe. Don’t let them get worked-up every time the doorbell rings and trick-or-treaters arrive.
  • Keep bowls and bags of candy far out of reach. Chocolate and the sweetener xylitol—often found in gum and peanut butter—can be very toxic to dogs and cats. Kids should also be reminded not to feed candy to pets.
  • Finally, be aware that Halloween usually means lots of loud noises, decorations, and unfamiliar people in strange outfits that can genuinely spook a pet.
  • Please make sure your pet is wearing identification, or better yet, has a microchip and that the registration on it has your current information. Should your pet run off or get lost, that chip is his or her ticket home.

As always, if you have questions about pet safety, don’t hesitate to give your favorite veterinarian a call. Preparing your pet can be the difference between a happy Howl-oween…and a howling nightmare! The caring team of vets at Abingdon Square Veterinary Clinic in NYC’s West Village ( is standing by to make sure Halloween fun is a safe and happy time for all.

To learn more about sun protection for your pet, reach out to Dr. Shorenstein at Abington Square Veterinary Clinic,

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