Halloween’s tricks and treats could spell trouble for your pet if you’re not aware of the dangers that might be lurking.
To keep the holiday enjoyable and stress-free, take a moment to peruse our tips and reminders so you can prepare accordingly and minimize potential risks for your dog and/or cat. We hope to help as many pet parents as we can with keeping their four-legged family members out of the ER, and safe and cozy in their homes where they belong.
If you have questions about anything pertaining to your pet’s safety, please call us at (205) 884-4104.
Sweets in general–including candy, cookies, caramel apples, and more–can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. A few candies left sitting on the table or a fresh batch of candy apples cooling on the stove may be too tempting for your pet to ignore, so be very careful when making and/or keeping sweet treats in your home.
Here are some of the most common treat hazards for pets:
- Sugar-free candy, gum, and baked goods: A variety of sugar-free candies, gum, and baked treats including cookies and muffins contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. Certain peanut butter might also be made with this ingredient! Xylitol can be deadly for dogs and cats if ingested in sufficient quantities. Be extremely careful about where you store sugar-free treats, and don’t leave anything sitting out!
- Chocolate: Chocolate is one of the most notorious “off-limits” treats for pets, and for good reason. In addition to containing lots of sugar, many dark chocolate varieties are much higher in cocoa content, which means more caffeine and more theobromine. These ingredients can cause heart arrhythmia and muscle tremors in dogs. Regardless of the type, any chocolate should be stored up high in a cabinet and kept well out of your pet’s reach.
- Hard candy: Hard candy is not only a risk due to possibly containing xylitol; it can also cause choking if your pet attempts to swallow it. This is why hard candies are also considered a huge risk for small children.
- Grapes and raisins: Ingesting grapes or raisins can damage your pet’s kidneys and potentially even be fatal. Raisins baked into bread or cookies or covered in chocolate are also dangerous.
- Candy wrappers and sticks: Any plastic wrapping, foil, and sticks from Tootsie pops (or candy apples) are liable to become choking hazards for your pet if they are left within their reach. Dispose of trash promptly and check the floor or around the bin for any discarded candy wrappers!
Halloween Decoration and Costume Hazards
Some pets are more prone to clumsiness (and general mischief) than others, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have an accident. Exercise caution when choosing Halloween decorations and costumes, and be wary of the following:
- Candles: As you can imagine, having an open flame anywhere in the house when you also have a pet is a major gamble. We’d recommend against using real candles and opting for artificial ones instead.
- Electrical cords: If your pet is a chewer, having electrical cords for strands of lights sitting on the floor or hanging where your pet can reach might be asking for trouble. Use cord covers to discourage chewing or hang lights in a spot your pet can’t reach.
- Fake spiderweb: Fake spiderweb is not only a choking hazard for pets that like to eat everything; if used outside, wildlife, especially birds and bats, can get tangled in it. Be careful about how you decorate with fake spiderwebs or consider not using it at all.
- Window decals: If your mirror and window decals don’t stick completely, they might end up on the floor–and in your pet’s mouth. Decals are another potential choking hazard, so make sure the ones you use adhere to windows/mirrors fully.
- Pet costumes: Some pets don’t mind wearing costumes on Halloween, but others are less enthusiastic. Don’t force your pet into a costume if they’re obviously uncomfortable. If your pet likes dressing up, make sure their costume does not limit their movements or affect their breathing in any way. Also, avoid picking a costume that has small, easy-to-swallow pieces that can be chewed off easily.
- Potpourri and scented oils:There’s nothing wrong with using scents to make your home cozier and more inviting, but potpourri and scented oils can be serious toxicity hazards. Don’t pour potpourri into a bowl and leave it where your pet can investigate, or use essential oils including pine, citrus, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, or lavender.
Why You Should Keep Your Pet Indoors on Halloween
’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to go missing on Halloween. Whether they manage to escape through the front door while you’re handing out candy or jump over the backyard fence, it’s best to keep your pet inside so you can keep an eye on them. For extra safety, we recommend having your pet microchipped (make sure you register the chip right away), and keeping their ID tags up to date. You just never know! Furthermore, animals allowed outside (especially cats, who can wander just about anywhere they please) are in danger of being targeted for pranks.