Skip to main content

Halloween Hazards

Things to Watch For

  • Halloween is a fun time for kids and many adults, but can be a frightening and stressful time for your pets. As a pet owner, you know your pet best, but here are some points to consider for your pet’s safety.
  • Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be stressful for a pet. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea or potentially injure themselves if crated or otherwise contained. Also, if spooked, they may run away, etc. Keep your pet indoors in a quiet and safe place on Halloween.
  • Watch your pet around strangers in costume — some animals may become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful, even normally friendly pets.
  • Candles and Jack-o’-lanterns within a pet’s range are a burn and fire hazard.
  • Candy – many pets have a sweet tooth. General overindulgence, chocolate, and plastic/cardboard candy-filled toys can cause added problems including toxicities if ingested.
  • Keep your pets indoors on Halloween night, especially black cats. Animals are at risk for cruel treatment by some Halloween pranksters. Many adoption agencies and humane societies will not allow adoption of black cats around Halloween for this reason.

Look at all of that candy!

  • For many people, Halloween = candy. Please warn children not to share their goodies with the family pet.
  • Chocolate is toxic to pets. Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, consult your veterinarian.
  • Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.

He looks so cute in his little red suit…

  • While viewed as fun and adorable for some pet owners, caution is advised when putting a costume on a pet. A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised.
  • Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and pain in the area of the elastic, including affecting movement or breathing. Always avoid costumes that impede vision or hearing – if your pet can’t see or hear well, his/her behaviour could be impacted.
  • Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and ingest it. This could cause intestinal obstruction if more than small shreds of material are consumed.
    If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.

Play it safe and have fun

  • With a little caution and some common sense, Halloween can be a fun time for kids and pets alike.
  • If you have a dog, it may feel that its territory is being invaded by the constant onslaught of visitors. Keeping your dog in a secluded area of the house will help it stay calm and prevent it from growling or possibly biting your visiting ghouls and goblins.
  • Celebrate Halloween with your pet by giving it goodies that are made especially for its species, like dog biscuits or cat treats.
    If you’re considering giving someone a black cat to celebrate Halloween, please either give them a stuffed animal or a homemade gift certificate to the SPCA instead. This will allow them to select just the right cat (or other pet) for them.
  • If any acts of animal cruelty are seen or suspected, please call your local shelter or animal authorities. Happy and safe Halloween to everyone

Leave a Reply