Halloween is filled with fun, frights, and festivities. While you may revel in this spooky holiday, your furry friend faces Halloween hazards that lurk amidst the celebrations. As you and your family gear up for this ghoulish night, remember that Halloween may not be a treat for your pet. Our Bayview Animal Hospital team shares tips to help you prevent a Halloween pet mishap that could turn your night from fun to frightening.
#1: Beware of pets and treats
Trick-or-treaters enjoy Halloween goodies, but many candies are hazardous to pets. Common toxic Halloween treats include:
- Chocolate — Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are stimulant-like ingredients that trigger changes in heart and nervous system function. While dark and bitter chocolates are the most dangerous for pets, your furry pal should not eat chocolate in any form, because the ingredient can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea) and pancreatitis.
- Sugar-free foods — Xylitol is a natural sugar alternative used in sugar-free candy, gum, and baked goods. This sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs, and can cause low blood sugar, seizures, and liver failure. Your canine companion can die if they ingest this toxic sugar alternative.
- Candy corn — This popular Halloween staple contains mostly sugar and artificial colors, which can cause your pet to experience stomach upset or other digestive health issues.
- Raisins — Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that causes kidney failure in pets. Signs include lethargy, decreased appetite, and vomiting.
- Macadamia nuts — All nuts have a high fat content that can trigger pancreatitis in pets. Macadamia nuts are especially dangerous and contain a toxin that causes lethargy, weakness, and tremors.
- Candy wrappers — Halloween candies aren’t the only problem for pets. The wrappers can also be dangerous. If your pet ingests a candy wrapper, they can develop an intestinal blockage. After enjoying their treats, ensure your gobbling goblins immediately put candy wrappers in a secure trash can, out of your pet’s reach.
#2: Avoid a pet disappearing act
An open door and a group of costumed strangers can overwhelm an anxious pet, and their fear may prompt them to dash outside. Prevent your pet from bolting on this frightening night by keeping them away from the front door. To ensure your pet is properly identified should they go missing, follow these tips:
- Microchip your pet — Microchipping is a simple procedure that permanently identifies pets. The small chip allows veterinarians and pet shelter employees to access your contact information if they find your pet. If your furry pal is already microchipped, ensure your contact information in the registry’s database is current and accurate.
- Check your pet’s collar and tags — Ensure your pet’s collar is secure and your contact information is up-to-date on their identification tags.
#3: Be careful with pets and candles
Candlelight’s soft glow can set the perfect spooky mood. However, whether a candle is inside a jack-o’-lantern or on a countertop, your pet can easily knock it over while investigating the decor. Keep burning candles out of your pet’s reach, or simply use battery-operated candles to avoid accidental fires. Keep in mind that candles aren’t the only potentially dangerous decor. Electrical cords, glow sticks, synthetic spiderwebs, and dry ice can also harm your pet.
#4: Outfit pets in safe and simple costumes
A costume can be fun as long as your pet feels comfortable, and the costume is safe. To prevent your pet from experiencing a Halloween-costume mishap, follow these tips:
- Ensure your pet’s costume doesn’t restrict their movement, obscure their vision, or hinder their breathing.
- Remove any small or chewable pieces on your pet’s costume. Your furry pal may be able to chew them off, and the pieces could become a choking hazard.
- If your pet appears uncomfortable, immediately take off their garment. Discomfort signs include folding down ears, refusing to move, pacing, tucking their tail, and hunching over.
- To prevent your pet from experiencing discomfort or overheating, only keep them in their costume for a short time.
#5: Help your pet escape the Halloween hype
A spooky party, constantly ringing doorbell, and costumed strangers can stress your pet, and they may feel more comfortable away from the commotion. Designate a quiet room where your pet can escape if they feel overwhelmed during the spookiest night of the year. Include your pet’s favorite toys and bedding, leave music playing to mask outside noises, and provide a food puzzle to distract your pet from the Halloween festivities.
Your furry friend can enjoy or at least tolerate Halloween when you consider their comfort and safety as you celebrate. If your pet ingests candy or another dangerous item, contact our Bayview Animal Hospital team immediately.