Not so Happy Halloween… for the pets!

When my students in my seminars are asked about Holiday Dangers, no doubt Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July are always among the top responses! But what about that sneaky, creepy Halloween Holiday? Did you know that calls around Halloween make it the busiest season for Pet Poison Helpline’s Hotline?

Our Top 6 Pet Halloween Dangers & Concerns

Halloween for pets6.) Black Dogs & Cats = Crazy Superstitions and Evil People

Shelters & Rescues usually place a hold on all black animals, especially black cats, during October because they don’t trust that they won’t be used in sacrificial celebrations. Please keep all black animals inside more and supervised when they’re outside to ensure would-be onlookers do not take them.

5.) Halloween Decor

Please be aware of any Halloween decorations that might be incredibly enticing to puppies or kittens and can cause severe electrical burns once chewed on while being powered. Candles (especially inside pumpkins) can be fascinating to cats and can burn their paws and whiskers quickly, as well as increase the risk of a Home Emergency if pushed off the counter by the cantankerous cat! Glow Sticks are another common problem, mainly in cats, because they like to bite into them and chew them. Mostly hyper-salivation and mouth discomfort is caused but do not usually prove to be in toxic ranges.

4.) Doorbell & Revolving Opening Door

Most dogs do not enjoy the doorbell going off when it’s just one person coming to the door. Imagine the stress for some pets when it rings over and over and over and over! You also have a higher chance of dogs and cats escaping past your feet when you increase the number of times the door is opened. You can still do this, but take precautions and put your pets in another room or their kennel until Trick or Treaters are done for the evening. And as always, please make sure your pets have a proper ID tag and an updated microchip for Identification purposes, just in case they do escape!

Halloween for pets3.) Candy, Wrappers & Overindulgence

Let’s face it, every holiday in America celebrates with candy and chocolate in some form or fashion! Most of you know the obvious in that chocolate is toxic to pets (type, amount of chocolate, and size of pet all play a role in just how toxic, but even if it isn’t chocolate, other types of candies can be hazardous to pets. It’s essential to keep all candy, wrappers, raisins & grapes up and out of the reach of your pets and to double-check that kids aren’t putting the pets in harm’s way by leaving the candy around where they shouldn’t. Unless you have taught your dog how to unwrap the candy before they eat it, they will likely ingest both candy and wrapper, which can cause a very dangerous bowel obstruction that could require surgery.

Why it’s dangerous: It’s hard enough for a human to stop at just one piece of candy, so imagine how difficult it is for a pet. Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis, which may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy.

What to watch for: Pets that have ingested candy may show signs such as decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and even kidney failure or organ damage.” —

Halloween for pets2.) Kids… or even worse… Kids in costumes!

Not every dog likes kids, and not very many like changes. When you put kids, candy, and scary costumes that drastically change their appearance, it can REALLY stress your pet out. Take all of this into consideration before deciding what to wear around your dog because even a simple witch hat may spook the most confident dogs!

Halloween for pets1.) Costumes – On people or pets = Stress!

Even I can admit that I love to put my dogs in ridiculous costumes purely for my own amusement, but I do believe Ernie actually enjoys it! Potato has other thoughts on the matter, though. A few factors need to be considered to make sure that you are not increasing the risk of an emergency with your pet: 1) Make sure the costume does not impair their vision, movement, or airway. 2) Consider the small metallic or beaded pieces that may be attached and accidentally ingested by the pet while you are turned away, and he’s taking his chance to chew himself out of the ridiculousness you have put him in!  3) Consider the stress that you are inducing on your pet.

While some pets do enjoy it, most tolerate it, and I know many that HATE it. It isn’t worth putting your dog through all of that to win a contest.

My point here is that EVERY holiday or EVERY month has an occasion that may possibly stress you or your pets out or pose unusual dangers that might be out of the norm in your household the rest of the year. Please take each month into account and look at the bigger picture and be an advocate for your pet to protect them and protect your wallet from preventable dangers!

Halloween for pets

For more information on Pet CPR & First Aid Seminars to give you advice on how to handle any of the above, please visit our calendar for the most up-to-date schedule and to save your seat!

For additional Halloween Dangers to consider, read Pet Poison Helpline’s Seasonal Article for Halloween!