Halloween Pet Safety Tips

The holidays can be a busy time for our animal hospital, from treating upset stomachs to answering questions about which foods are unsafe for animal consumption. Halloween is no exception; with tasty sweets and decorations that might look like tempting toys, there are a variety of potential health hazards we’d like to remind you about before you start decking the halls with cobwebs and jack ‘o lanterns. Take a look!

Sweet Treats

Candy is one of the things kids love most about Halloween, but it can be dangerous if your pet has a piece (or several). Here are some things to remember:

  • Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used in sugar-free candy, gum, and baked treats. Ingesting too much xylitol can make pets very sick or even be fatal.
  • Chocolate should always be off-limits to pets, especially chocolate with a high cocoa content (dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, and baking chocolate, for example). In addition to giving your pet an upset stomach, it can also affect their heart due to the high quantity of theobromine it contains.
  • Some candies (in addition to their wrappers) can become a choking hazard when swallowed, or obstruct the bowel. Dispose of any leftover wrappers and keep all candy shut away in a cabinet out of your pet’s reach.
Dalmatian dog at a Halloween party dressed in a devil costume.
Halloween Pet Safety in Glendale: A Gray Cat Dressed Up as a Bat for Halloween

Decorations

You can still make your home look cozy and inviting this Halloween while also keeping it safe for your pet. Just keep these tips in mind:

  • Instead of real flame candles, use artificial ones. You can achieve the same atmosphere without being concerned about fire hazards or worrying about where your pet is walking (or climbing).
  • Use fake cobweb sparingly, or avoid it altogether. Cobweb can become a stringy mess in which your pet might become tangled, or it can turn into a choking hazard. Also, cobweb used outdoors can be a threat to the bird population in your neighborhood, causing them to become entangled and possibly injured.
  • Are you a fan of scary decorations, like life-size figures and creepy masks? Your pet might not be, and if they become anxious at the sight of them, it might be a good idea to store them out of sight.
  • Be aware of the decorations you’re using and check for small, detachable parts that might look like playthings to your pet.

Costumes

While some pets are unfazed when their owners put them in costume, others may become distressed.

  • If your pet shows any signs of anxiety or discomfort when you try to put them in costume, put the costume away. Your pet can enjoy Halloween just fine without it. A pet in costume may become overwhelmed and hurt themselves in an attempt to get out of it, chew off parts and choke on them, or even get nippy with you and others.
  • We highly recommend not attempting to frighten your pet with your costume. This can cause very real stress for your pet or possibly cause them to bite out of fear.