Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween Tips and Hazards:

Halloween is one of the best holidays!  Lots of candy, costumes, and festivities!  But sometimes Halloween can be a pets nightmare.  Let’s make this holiday a great one!  Here are a few Halloween Safety Tips!

Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy!

Be sure that all Halloween candy is out of their reach.  Candy is often made up of chocolate and can contain xylitol, both can be extremely toxic to pets.  Other toxic components include the wrappers.  If a pet is going to eat the candy, they do not take the time to unwrap the candy, they just go straight for ingesting it all!  If a dog or cat ingests enough of them, they can cause a foreign body.

Chocolate toxicity: the toxic component of chocolate is called theobromine.  The less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog.  Dark chocolate is the most toxic, followed by baker’s chocolate, milk chocolate, then white chocolate.  Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, and seizures in your dog.

Xylitol toxicity: Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute.  It is found in gum, candies, mints, and many other products.  It can cause a very unsafe drop in your dog’s blood sugar and can lead to liver failure.  Xylitol is becoming more and more dangerous because of its growing popularity.  Treatment is needed immediately and even a small ingestion of a product containing xylitol can be toxic to your pet.

Other types of treats can be harmful too.  Pets are indiscriminate when it comes to eating tasty treats and can gorge themselves on snacks and food meant for humans. Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Potentially fatal, pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and is very painful. It may not show up within two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. Symptoms include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially, kidney failure or organ damage.

Some people prefer to give healthy snacks instead of candy on Halloween, such as mini-boxes of raisins. These are extremely are poisonous to dogs!  Very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs. They can ingest any amount and potentially be poisoned. Therefore, any ingestion of raisins or grapes should be treated as a “poisoning” case. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Make sure your pet has proper identification!

Make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag).  There is typically a lot going on Halloween night.  Pets can become overwhelmed with fear and excitement with the amount of people and children coming to the house.  Their reaction may be to run away or toward people.  In case they escape through the open door while you’re distracted with trick-or-treaters, proper identification can help bring them home to you.

Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets!

Pets can be too curious sometimes, and they do not recognize when things are dangerous.  Lit candles and jack-o-lanterns can be fascinating to them and they might stick their paws or faces directly into the flames.  This can cause severe burns.  You also do not want them tipping anything flammable over in your house, causing a fire.

Pet Costumes!

If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable.  You don’t want a costume with a lot of pieces that can be chewed off and ingested.  You also do not want something that will interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while they are wearing it.

Glow Sticks!

Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. The liquid in these products isn’t toxic, but it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively.  It can also potentially cause mouth irritation, and cause them to act strangely.

If your pet has chewed the glow stick and it has broken off into large pieces, it can potential cause gastrointestinal problems or obstructive problems.  If you know or suspect your pet has been chewing on a glow stick or has ingested it please call the VVC immediately.

Pet Behavior!

Know what your pet is like around strangers.  If they are not the most outgoing dog, and they tend to be scared of new people or little children, please keep them inside. If they have a tendency to growl or bite, that is their warning that they are not comfortable and should be left alone. We want all (human and pet) to be safe this holiday season!

Keep Pets Inside!

Pets will feel more comfortable inside.  They can find a safe place to ride out the new noises, screams and strange sounds decorations are making.  Keep in mind that your pets senses are greater than ours, so everything for them is heightened.  Let them find a nice calm, safe spot in the house and relax.  Here are a few items that can help relieve anxiety: Thundershirts, DAP (also called Adaptil- comes in sprays, collars or diffusers) for dogs or Feliway (comes in sprays or diffusers) for cats, Lavender Collars (calmingcollars.com), or “Though A Dog’s Ear” and “Through A Cat’s Ear” are both CD’s or itunes downloads are specifically studied instrumental music to calm your dog and cats.  There are many supplements that you can also try (they are available at our online pharmacy, VetSource or at some area pet stores): Solliquin by Nutramax, Composure by VetriScience, Rebound by Virbac, or Zyklene by Vetoquinol.


Be cautious about having corn around as decorations.  While corn on the cobs aren’t poisonous per se, they can be extremely dangerous to pets.  If fed to your dog or cat, they can easily get stuck in the intestines and require an abdominal surgery to remove. Corn on the cobs do NOT dissolve in the stomach or intestines which is why they cause such a problem.  They are also notorious for being difficult to detect on x-rays, as the density doesn’t show up well which makes it even harder to diagnose, and potentially more life-threatening to your dog.  If you think your dog has potentially eaten or has eaten corn on the cob, veterinary medical attention is needed.  Believe it or not, left untreated, this can cause the intestines to rupture and, potentially, death.

Never feed your dog corn on the cob – if you want, slice the kernels off for them instead.

Electric Cords!

With all the decorations out, be cautious about pets that are attracted to electric cords. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.


If your pet chews on the carved pumpkins or decorative pumpkins, it can cause some gastrointestinal upset. (This is not the same as canned pumpkin, which is often recommended by the veterinarians in specific medical conditions).

The Village Veterinary Clinic will be open on Halloween night.  We will have a doctor available daily until midnight, while a veterinary technician will be available 24/7 for patient monitoring and phone support.  If you have any issues this holiday, please call 646-4023!