6 Halloween safety tips for pets

Tiny Tinkerbell, a participant in our Halloween Pets Costume Contest.

Dr. Kenneth Drobatz, Chief of the Emergency Service at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital, offers the following tips to keep pets healthy and out of the emergency room this Halloween:

1. Keep Halloween candy out of your pet’s reach

Chocolate and other treats can be potentially harmful to animals. Tinfoil and cellophane candy wrappers can also be hazardous if swallowed.

2. Don’t put costumes on your pets unless you know they enjoy it

If they do, make sure the costume doesn’t restrict your pet’s movement, vision, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Adults should supervise pets in costume at all times.

3. Keep pets away from lit pumpkins

Curious pets could be burned or start a fire if they knock the pumpkin over.

4. Keep pets inside on Halloween to avoid pranksters who may harm them

This is especially important for cats, which should be kept inside for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats in particular may be at risk.

5. Pets should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treating hours

Children in costumes may frighten your dog or cat.

6. Be sure your pet doesn’t dart out when you open the door

If your pet is very social and you choose not to put him/her in a separate room, be sure your pet doesn’t dart out when you open the door. Just in case, make sure your pets are wearing current identification.

If your pet loves to get dressed up, be sure to enter our Halloween Pets Costume Contest!


Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, seeing nearly 33,000 patients a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals, treating 33,000 patients each year – 4,100 in the hospital and 29,000 at farms through the Field Service. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.
For more information, visit http://www.vet.upenn.edu