Halloween Hazards For Your Pet

By Dr. Tracy Appelbaum, Managing Veterinarian

Halloween is a time for fun and games for most families, but it can be downright spooky for our pets. Skip the nightmares by following these simple precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy this Halloween. 

Make sure you stash the treats! Popular Halloween treats like sweets and chocolate are toxic to pets so should always be kept well out of reach. All forms of chocolate – especially dark chocolate – can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous. If you suspect your pet ingested any of these treats you should contact your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Beware of the Jack-O-Laterns. Pumpkins are a classic element of Halloween, and while they are non-toxic, can cause stomach upset if large amounts are eaten. If you are carving a pumpkin, make sure to move it well out of your pet’s reach. Also, you may want to use electric candles to minimize the risk of singed whiskers or more serious burns.

Keep pets confined and away from the door. Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This could be scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night.

Taking your dog trick or treating with you? Make sure that they are micro-chipped just in case they become spooked and run away. You can easily get your pet’s microchip checked at your local practice. Always make sure that all your contact details are kept up-to-date. 

Be careful with the pet costumes. For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. This will ensure that the costume does not limit their movement, sight, ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury. 

Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but taking some of these simple precautions will ensure that you and your pet have a fantastic holiday. We here at Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital want to wish you all a Happy Halloween, and don’t forget, we’re open 24/7/365 so don’t be frightened to contact us with any questions or concerns on your pets holiday safety.

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