Halloween and Pet Safety


Halloween is right around the corner – don’t let the fun celebrations turn scary for you or your furry friend.

Consider these important points:

  • Chocolate is a big No-No for your pets. OK, so you know you should not ‘treat’ your pet with chocolate. But, also be sure you don’t accidentally leave chocolate in areas where pets can find it and ‘treat’ themselves!  The toxic components of chocolate include the methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine. Depending on the amounts ingested, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, panting, increased heart rate, increased urination, tremors, seizures, or even death. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous the ingestion. Darker chocolates contain higher concentrations of methylxanthines. So something like baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder or other dark chocolates will cause more severe symptoms in smaller quantities when compared to milk chocolate or white chocolate. Learn more about chocolate toxicity from the Pet Poison Helpline.
  • In addition to chocolate, any candy should simply be off-limits to pets. From gastrointestinal upset to the potential for gastrointestinal obstruction if numerous candy wrappers are ingested, there is just no good reason to share candy with pets. Even worse, some candy (including chocolate) can be sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol toxicity can cause liver failure and death in dogs. Learn more about Xylitol from the Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Pet costumes: make sure they are safe and comfortable. If you decide to dress your pet up in a costume, be sure to supervise them – especially those pets who are known to shred and chew things up. Additionally, if your pet seems uncomfortable or dislikes the costume, it may be best to forego the dress-up event.
  • Keep pets safely confined during holiday celebrations and trick-or-treating times. While some pets may typically love greeting every visitor that comes to the door, they may find the costumed figures standing at the door on Halloween a bit startling. Additionally, all the extra noise and commotion may cause some pets to become fearful. Consider crating pets or confining them to separate rooms during the holiday activities so they will be calm and safe.

Have fun, and be safe, this coming Halloween!

Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS