Common Halloween hazards for pets
It’s Halloween and festivities are in full swing. There’s candy to give out, costumes, decorations, lights, and trick-or-treaters ready to ring your doorbell. With so much going on, your pet may not be the first thing on your mind – but Halloween can be a scary experience for our pets, and it does present a few hazards. Curious pets may be extra keen to get into areas they shouldn’t, like candy, decorations, or lit candles inside of jack-o-lanterns.
While an emergency vet trip is the last thing anyone wants, we want to remind pet owners that we are open 24/7, walk-ins welcome. We are VECCS Level 1 certified and capable of handling even the most critical, life-threatening emergencies and trauma. If your pet does happen to get into candy, treats, or wrappers, contact your emergency veterinarian right away, or call the Pet Poison Helpline. If you’re unsure whether your pet ingested candy, be sure to monitor them for signs of drooling, pacing, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Get ahead of the following pet hazards this spooky season with our safety tips:
Generally, human candy and foods should be kept away from pets! Here are a few of the more toxic ones that you might see at Halloween:
- Chocolate – Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and even seizures or death in pets.
- Xylitol – a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum and some peanut butter brands, Xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in pets, leading to low blood sugar and seizures.
- Grapes and Raisins – Grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure in dogs, causing symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
- Macadamia Nuts – Macadamia nuts can cause muscle tremors, weakness, vomiting, and an increased body temperature in dogs.
- Alcohol – Alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning in pets, resulting in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, coordination problems, and, in severe cases, respiratory failure.
Another important candy-related pet hazard to remember are candy wrappers. Dogs and cats may be attracted to shiny wrappers, which are choking hazards and can cause serious health issues for your pet if ingested.
Pet Halloween costumes are adorable but may not be suitable for all pets. They can cause anxiety and stress. Along with the possibility of an unexpected choking hazard, you should also note that costumes may cause additional stress for anxious pets. While you may enjoy dressing your pet up for Halloween, they may feel differently. Keep in mind that pets may become overstimulated by fabric from pet costumes and exhibit stressed behavior as a result.
Here are some tips to make sure your pet costume is safe:
- Ensure the costume fits properly and is comfortable.
- Check that there are no pieces that easily can be chewed off or cause choking.
- Ensure it doesn’t block your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, mouth, or movement.
- Take time before Halloween to get your pet accustomed to the costume, and never leave a costumed pet unsupervised.
If you’re really hoping to dress your pet up for Halloween, you may want to try introducing costumes slowly and over time. Start out with a simple bandana or bow-tie collar attachment and work your way up from there.
Be sure to keep decorations out of your pet’s reach! Some common hazards are:
- glow sticks
- faux spider webs
- lit candles
- small plastic decorations that are easily swallowed
The constant ringing of your doorbell by spooky strangers may make your pet anxious or scared. Keep an eye on their body language! You may also run the risk of your pet running out the front door if you don’t keep them contained.
To help keep your pets safe while passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, you might want to keep them in a separate and secure area of the house, with access to fresh water, food, and a litter box if applicable. If left to their own devices, a curious or stressed dog or cat may try to escape from an open door during trick-or-treating. Be sure that your pet is equipped with an ID tag and microchip if you plan to leave them around open doors.