We love celebrating Halloween at Tej Dhaliwal Veterinary Group, and we especially enjoy seeing pets dressed up for the holiday. (Coming soon: Be on the lookout for info on this year’s Tej Dhaliwal Halloween pet photo contest.) However, as fun as the holiday can be, it can also pose some dangers for our dogs and cats. Here are a few tips to help keep Halloween safe for pets.
Make sure any food items you or others offer your pet this Halloween are veterinary approved. Here are a couple that are popular in Halloween treats, but that you definitely want to keep out of reach of your pet:
- Chocolate—While chocolate is a welcome treat for trick-or-treaters at Halloween, it’s always off-limits for pets. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine—both of which are toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more danger it poses, but chocolate in any form can make pets quite ill. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, and restlessness. In severe cases, it can cause seizures and death.
- Xylitol-containing products—Extremely toxic to dogs, this popular artificial sweetener is used in many candies, sugar-free gum, baked goods, and peanut butter. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver damage, and death in dogs. Initial signs of xylitol poisoning often develop quickly (although they can take a few hours or days) and may include vomiting, weakness, and lack of coordination. Xylitol is not currently known to be toxic to cats, but we suggest being cautious and keeping all xylitol-sweetened treats away from both dogs and
If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic, call us at Tej Dhaliwal Veterinary Group right away. This is a serious, potentially life-threatening situation.
Halloween can be a frightfully good time for children and their parents, but for some cats and dogs, it may be just frightening. Costumed strangers, crowds of children, and flashing, animated decorations…this holiday can be a recipe for startling pets.
To help prevent your pet from darting out open doors, consider these options:
- Putting your pet in his or her crate
- Blocking your pet from access to the door using a baby gate or other barrier
- Keeping your pet inside a room he or she feels safe in, away from the front door
- Putting your pet on a leash while answering the door to trick-or-treaters
These preventive steps can also keep curious pets from grabbing treats out of hands or running away from décor that scares them.
Just in case, keep a collar and ID tags on your pet, and consider microchipping, if you haven’t already done so. If your pet does escape or become lost, you want to have the best chance of getting him or her back.
Besides potentially burning your pet, candles in jack-o’-lanterns can get knocked over inadvertently by a wagging tail or scared pet darting by. Avoid leaving candles burning unattended in pumpkins and other decorations, and consider replacing lit candles with flameless, battery-powered versions to help keep everyone safe.
Dressing your pet up for Halloween can be fun for pets and owners alike. To keep it that way, make sure the costume fits well and doesn’t have threads, ties, or other items your pet might chew or pull off. You know your pet best, so avoid dressing him or her up in anything that could become a choking hazard or that your pet isn’t comfortable in. If your pet balks at wearing a costume, you can still be part of the festivities by swapping in a Halloween-themed collar, leash, or another accessory instead.
A Happy Halloween
At Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group, we want to help make sure you and your pet enjoy Halloween. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about how your pet might react to the holiday. If your pet tends to be anxious around excited children or loud noises, we have options that can help.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Halloween safety tips.
Fear Free Happy Homes. Planning a party? How to keep anxiety (yours and your pet’s) at bay.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Halloween safety tips for pets.
Preventive Vet. How to set up a safe space for your dog.
Preventive Vet. The top Halloween dangers for dogs & cats.