While Halloween might look at bit different this year, we can count on our pets to keep the spirit alive and well. They'll happily sport their Halloween costumes exactly like they did last year, gobble up DIY treats made fresh by their pet parents as if there were no problems in the world, and bark at the doorbell as if we weren't in the middle of a pandemic.
Since pets will be pets, we're well-aware that Halloween can pose obstacles for pet parents and dangers for pets, just like any other Halloween would. But in the year 2020, social distancing has presented some unique challenges as well.
To help you navigate Halloween in the new normal, we had Chewy's Senior Vet Dr. Katy Nelson answer our community's questions on pets and Halloween this year.
All questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Why does my pet not move when I put the costume on?
A: It can be quite intimidating for pets to be strapped into these costumes with Velcro everywhere and people laughing. So, knowing your pet's personality will help you determine whether or not your pet should play dress up with you.
Q: How bad is it if my dog gets a small piece of chocolate? What should I do?
A: The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. The smaller your dog is, the less it takes for your pet to have a reaction. So, for any exposure whatsoever to chocolate, I would highly recommend contacting your veterinarian. If it is after hours, call the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 764-7661.
Q: How do I keep my dog sane with the doorbell and knocking on Halloween?
A: If you think about Halloween from your pet's perspective, you'd understand why it's a little bit scary. There are random people ringing your doorbell in scary costumes, yelling at your parents demanding that they give them something. It can be quite intimidating.
To help, similarly to what you should do during Fourth of July fireworks with pets, find an interior space for them that you can make Zen. Provide them with some calming treats, cozy bedding and some white noise to help them block out those trick-or-treaters.
See our guide on how to create a Zen space for your dog here.
Q: Is it safe to take your dog with you to go trick-or-treating?
A: First and foremost, think of your pet's personality. Is going door-to-door in a costume with all of that chaos going to be fun for them? For some pets, the answer is yes. If the answer is no, though, it's best to leave them at home where they'll feel safe and secure.
Also, keep in mind that it is 2020, so maybe this is the year you try fun social distancing activities instead of your regular trick-or-treating to keep both the two-leggers and the four-leggers in your home safe.
Check out our tips on how to host a virtual Halloween party with friends and pets.
Q: What are the benefits of feeding pumpkin to your dog and in what form?
A: Pumpkins are a great addition to your front porch as well as your pet's food. They are very high in fiber, they're quite flavorful and they can definitely help with any irregularities your pet may be experiencing.
Learn more about the benefits of pumpkin for dogs here.
Q: Is there any Halloween candy that is safe for pets?
A: Let's face it, we all know that sweets are not great for us. And for our pets, it can make them sick. Lots of sugar can cause some major GI upset, and artificial sweeteners can even be toxic.
Q: Can they have molasses or Carob?
A: Yes, and if you're looking for some fun and safe treats that your pets can do tricks for, then check out our Chewy Eats Halloween homemade dog treat recipe.
If you find this Q&A helpful, follow us on Instagram and stay tuned for upcoming lunch break vet chats with Dr. Katy Nelson in the coming weeks.