Protect Your Dogs And Cats This Halloween Season

People around the world look forward to Halloween, but pets don’t necessarily look forward to the holiday.

After all, there is a noticeable spike in the number of calls to veterinarians at the Pet Poison Helpline during that week. That spike of 12% is seen because of the dangers involved with the holiday.

According to a post from the organization, the assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, said: “Most often, these calls involve pets accidentally ingesting Halloween candy or décor. Chocolate is one of the most problematic candies as dogs and cats cannot metabolize it as well as people. Thus, it places them at risk for poisoning.”


Although there are many hazards at Halloween for our furry friends, there are some that are more dangerous. Some of those that make the top of the list, however, are chocolates, candy, grapes and raisins, and candy wrappers.

Here is a more complete list:

Chocolate – Although humans tend to love chocolate, it is toxic to our dogs and cats. 98% of the 1100 calls that came into Pet Poison Helpline about chocolate toxicity were associated with dogs. To a dog, the smell and taste of chocolate are irresistible, but unfortunately, it is poisonous to them. That is especially true of darker chocolate.

Methylxanthines is the type of chemical that is so dangerous to a dog. It is similar to caffeine but is so toxic to dogs that even 1 ounce of Baker’s chocolate could sicken a 50-pound dog.

Keep all candy out of the reach of your dog and cat at all times. If you think they may have eaten chocolate, watch for the typical symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, lethargy, increased thirst, elevated heart rate, and seizures.

Photo: flickr/Steven Miller

Candy – When a Chowhound sees a piece of candy, it is irresistible to them. When they eat too much of the sugary food, however, it can lead to pancreatitis. The inflammation of the pancreas is possibly fatal but it is definitely painful. It may not show up for a couple of days after the pet eats the candy, so watch them for symptoms and keep the candy away from them.

Photo: Pixabay/pixel1

Grapes and Raisins – Although most of the danger from Halloween is in the form of sugary treats, even healthy snacks may be harmful to our pets. Grapes and raisins are both poisonous to dogs and even a small amount can lead to kidney failure. They should be just as much off-limits to dogs and cats as chocolate. Even if they only ingest a small number of grapes or raisins, they can get sick.

Photo: flickr/JD Hancock

Candy Wrappers – Most of us unwrap the candy and then eat it but that isn’t the case with dogs. They swallow the cellophane and foil wrappers and that can lead to a bowel obstruction. At times, it may be so severe that they need surgery. Some of the symptoms include not defecating, a decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and straining to defecate.

Photo: Andrew Seaman

Glow Sticks – To a cat and many dogs, glow sticks are irresistible. Some 80 calls have come into Pet Poison Helpline after their pet punctured a glow stick. 70% of the calls were associated with our feline friends. Typically, a glow stick is not life-threatening to the animal but it can irritate their mouth.


Costumes – There is no doubt that you know about the adorable costumes that are available for our dogs and cats. The problem is, the costumes may impair their ability to move about, to see properly, and even to breathe. If there are small pieces, such as beads or snaps on the costume, they could eat them, and in some cases, it could lead to poisoning.

Photo: Pixabay/Yama Zsuzsanna Márkus

Candles – Pets are not going to know that a candle can burn them until it is too late. Keep them out of reach of your furry friend.

Photo: Pixabay/Lolame

Do what you can to keep your pet safe during the holiday season. In many cases, a pet can be treated at a local veterinarian but if you have an emergency, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.

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