halloween dog.

It is quite unfortunate that the same things that bring humans joy also have the potential to imperil our pets. The good news is that the ability to recognize Halloween hazards for pets helps to shield them from illness, injury, or separation/loss. We’ll help you get to the bottom of the most common dangers associated with Halloween, and give you tips that prioritize pet safety this time of year. 

Trick Or Treat!

Chocolate is arguably one of the biggest threats to pet safety around Halloween. Dogs simply can’t help themselves when they find it, and even ravenously lick at empty or discarded candy wrappers. They don’t know that it’s poisonous, and the side effects can range from serious to downright life-threatening. Whether it’s milk, dark, semi-sweet, or cocoa powder, chocolate should always be stored out of reach. 

If you see vomiting, tremors, shaking, seizures, and other abrupt changes in behavior, please seek emergency care. 

Other Food Hazards

Lots of tasty treats are now sweetened with xylitol, which is a sugar substitute. Symptoms may not be obvious for up to 12 hours following exposure, and include loss of coordination and weakness. Seizures, collapse, and liver failure can be linked to xylitol toxicity. Please be sure that your pet never has access to sugar-free gum, peanut butter with xylitol, baked goods, or other foods that might contain it. 

Halloween Ambiance

If your neighbors go all out with Halloween decor, including flashing lights, sounds, and animatronic displays, it might be best to keep your pet away. Because our pets don’t understand what the holiday is, they respond to a fight-or-flight instinct that causes them to bolt. The weeks before Halloween are a great time to check on your pet’s microchip information and update ID tags on a sturdy collar.

If you know your pet gets stressed this time of year, consider the following:

  • Create a safe space for them away from the doorbell
  • Add a white noise machine, water bowls, and lots of soothing items
  • Exercise them thoroughly before trick-or-treaters come by to reduce anxiety

You could also opt out of Halloween altogether by turning off exterior lights and having a quiet evening with your pet away from all the ghosts and goblins.

Including Them

Many pets are highly socialized and enjoy being part of the action. In this case, please be aware of these threats to pet safety:

  • Costumes can be fun, but they can become intolerable if a pet is hot, itchy, uncomfortable or restricted. Be sure your pet can move around freely, has unencumbered vision, and displays a calm, relaxed attitude when wearing it. Always remove it promptly and give your pet some space if they act overwhelmed. 
  • Always have lights on you and your pet so you’re both visible to other pedestrians and drivers. Glow-sticks aren’t a good option as they are toxic if eaten by curious pets. 
  • Keep your pet away from any jack-o-lanterns. They could be lit with real fire, endangering their eyes, nose, and whiskers.
  • Shift gears if your pet doesn’t appear to be having a good time. Maybe what they really need is a quiet night with their favorite person..

If you have additional questions about Halloween pet safety, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff at (951) 461-4100.