Holiday Safety Tips
by Aimee Gilbreath
09:55 AM, Monday, October 22

Information provided by Found Animals Foundation. Visit their website here:


Keep your pet stress-free by choosing a costume that fits properly and isn’t too much of a distraction to your pet. While dressing up your dog or cat can be fun, there are a few things that should be considered when picking out a costume for your pet. A costume that is too large or too small can be problematic; too large and your pet could be injured. Tripping or getting caught on furniture or other obstacles can be dangerous. Too small a costume and your pet risks choking and discomfort. Also be sure the costume is free of small or dangling parts that can be torn off and ingested.


Make sure your pet can see – While masks and hoods might be cute, if your pet cannot see you could run into larger issues. Even pets with the sweetest temperament could bite, scratch or cause injury because they cannot see properly.


As tempted as you might be, avoid dyes and face paints which may irritate your pet’s skin or be eaten. Even if a product states that it is nontoxic, it could still cause an upset tummy or reaction. It’s best to keep the face paint and dyes to the humans!


Never leave your pet unattended while dressed in a costume.


Remember, it’s dark outside!  If your pet will be traveling with you this Halloween whether it is next door to a party or trick or treating for several blocks consider adding a reflective collar, tape or other gear as part of their costume so that they can easily be seen.


Trick or Treaters and Other Guests:

For some pets they are most comfortable at home. Keep in mind though the constant door bell ringing and unusual appearance of strangers in costume may be too much as well. Place your pet in a quiet area away from all the commotion. Give them some comfort by surrounding them with their favorite toys or blankets. Some pets may be less distracted if you leave the TV on to muffle the unusual level of noise and activities that surround Halloween. Animal Planet anyone?


Be alert when opening your door, your pet may be tempted to escape. Consider putting up a pet gate in your doorway as a precaution.


One of the most important things you can do any time of the year is microchip your pet. Should your pet escape and become lost, your chances of being reunified are greatly increased. Also make sure your pet is wearing external ID that is up to date and easily readable. Found Animals provides a free microchip registry with found pet alerts. To find out about our free registry visit


If possible, walk your dog before dark when all the trick or treating festivities begin. This will help you avoid massive crowds which can stress out your pet leading to injuries and avoid the accidental ingestion of discarded wrappers and dropped candy that may make your pet sick.


Halloween Candy and Other Treats:

Keep all candy out of reach from your pets! Your pets have an excellent sense of smell so keep those treats sealed up tight. Some candy can be especially dangerous to your pet, such as the following:

Sugar-free candy which contains Xylitol. Even in small doses this ingredient can cause rapid low blood sugar and liver damage or failure in dogs.


Chocolate, especially dark chocolate and baking chocolate is poisonous. It’s common for people to say a dog has to eat a lot of chocolate to cause problems to health. To put this in perspective, a 50 pound dog need only ingest 50 ounces of dark chocolate or just 5 ounces of baking chocolate to cause problems such as tremors, nervousness, vomiting, high heart rate or even death in some cases.


Raisins are often a healthy Halloween treat for kids but can be deadly to dogs. Dogs can experience kidney failure after ingesting just a small amount of raisins (including currants and grapes in many cases).


Make sure you discuss with children and visitors the dangers of sharing Halloween treats. Also make sure garbage cans are sealed and wrappers are disposed of properly. Dogs and cats can choke easily on cellophane and tin foil wrappers which many of our favorite Halloween treats are wrapped in.


Halloween Decorations and Other Dangers:

Decorations such as jack-o-lanterns can be dangerous to pets with wagging tails or curious noses. Avoid house fires and injured pets by keeping candles out of reach or by using a low-heat, battery operated light instead.


Pumpkins, Gourds and Decorative Corn can attract the attention of pets as well. Though in most cases these are non-toxic they may still cause an upset stomach and could create a mess. Consider keeping these items in an area away from pets or out of reach.


Festive lights, ribbons and streamers should also be kept out of reach to avoid injury including electrocution or ingestion causing obstruction.



About Aimee Gilbreath: Aimee received a full scholarship to attend the University of Arizona, where she earned her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, graduating summa cum laude in 1996.  Deciding against pursuing medical school, she began a career in biotechnology and was hired by Motorola Corporation’s R&D division.  Aimee was the third member of a team recruited to start a biotechnology research program with the goal to develop a biochip device for use in personalized medicine.

After spending four years in the laboratory researching single nucleotide polymorphisms, Aimee returned to school and earned her MBA at Stanford University.  Upon graduation in 2002 she was hired by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a management strategy consulting firm that works with Fortune 500 companies to solve complex business issues.  Aimee started in the firm’s Chicago office before transferring to Los Angeles where she was promoted to Principal in late 2006.  During her five and a half years working for BCG Aimee served clients in the Health Care and Consumer Goods industries with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions.

In an effort to introduce balance and service into her busy business career Aimee began volunteering for a local animal rescue group when she moved to Los Angeles in 2004.  This was her introduction to the issues of pet overpopulation and shelter euthanasia.  And, this was where Aimee fell in love with one of the most popular yet misunderstood breeds of dog, the pit bull.  She eventually adopted a “pittie” of her own – Rufus.

Rufus inspired Aimee to return to her first love – animals – and led her to take the position she holds today.  In March 2008, Aimee joined Found Animals® as the Executive Director and first employee.  Now, rather than tackling post merger integrations she is managing a social entrepreneurship startup and applying her business skills to the creation and development of sustainable business models within animal welfare.  “I have been blessed with the opportunity to use my business training and skills to tackle the tragedy of pet overpopulation.  It's incredibly gratifying to know that our work makes a difference for pets and their people.”

Aimee lives in Los Angeles with her “pittie” Rufus.  She enjoys scuba diving and world travel and is an aspiring cook.   When she’s not hard at work for Found Animals® you will find her strolling the beach with Rufus, testing her latest culinary creation on friends, or exploring Los Angeles and all that it has to offer.


Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

Paw-pular Articles