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Don't Let Halloween Frighten You! Keep An Eye Out For These Spooky Pet Dangers!

Updated: Mar 5

Halloween dangers for pets xylitol toxicity chocolate toxicity for dogs leash training

It's that time! Halloween 'O what fun!

Halloween is a festive time of year when kids and adults get to let loose, dress up, and be silly!

But our pets may also think it's times to let loose and get silly!

Has your dog ever gotten into the Halloween candy? Did your cat find some strong on a costume to play with?!


What dangers could be lurking around this fun and festive holiday?!

  • Chocolate, Raisins & Nuts:

We all know chocolate is toxic to dogs!

But what you may not know is what happens when a chocolate toxicity takes place...

A good thing to know is:

The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. White chocolate and milk chocolate have a better safety margin than pure dark chocolate.

"Chocolate contains chemicals called methylxanthines, specifically theobromine and caffeine. Ingestion in toxic amounts can result in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and possibly even death."

"Theobromine is the main toxin in chocolate and is very similar to caffeine. Both chemicals are used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine as well as people can. That is why dogs are more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects."

Raisins are toxic as well and can cause kidney failure in dogs, and possibly cats.

Macadamia nuts in particular are toxic to dogs.

"Depending on the amount nuts ingested, clinical signs of severe lethargy, increased body temperature, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness, and inability to walk (due hind limb weakness) may be seen. The toxic mechanism is unknown but can affect nerve and muscle function. Some dogs may also develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) due to the high oil content of these nuts."

Other nuts can cause digestive distress and blockage if too many are eaten.

  • Candy with Xylitol:

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. even in small amounts.

"Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute. Chemically, it is a sugar alcohol."

"When dogs eat xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin causes a profound drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur as quickly as 10-60 minutes after ingestion."

Read more about hypoglycemia in this post.

  • Wrappers:

It's not just the candy that can be dangerous! Wrappers can create a choking hazard, stomach upset, and even intestinal blockages!

  • Costumes for Pets:

I think it's adorable when pets get dressed up! BUT, it must be done in a safe & humane way. Be sure your pet is not showing signs of fear and that they are comfortable. Costumes should not impact their vision or breathing and not be too tight.

Costumes MAY cause panic, injury, choking and strangulation... So please be mindful!

DO NOT put any type of mask on your pet. Bodily costumes only!

halloween costume safety for dogs

Here is Maddie's costume from a few years ago! Simple and safe! She loved her photo shoot!

  • Costume Pieces & Accessories:

Strings, wigs, ribbon, lace, beads and more... All can pose a danger to your pets and cause injury. Small kids running around with dangling pieces can trigger a chase response and result in jury to the pet and/ or child. Be sure pets are secure and not easily triggered!

  • Make-up:

Make-up can be toxic to pets. Please keep it out of reach to avoid them ingesting it and DO NOT apply it to them! If you want to dye your pet fun colors for Halloween, please follow the recommendations in this post for safety!

  • Candles & Scented Products:

Avoid using these products in your home (any time of year). Candles can get bumped and cause burns or fires. They also contain heavy metals that get released into the air when lit. Scented products such as sprays and plug-ins contain toxic chemicals like acetone and formaldehyde that can everyone sick... Especially pets!

Please skip the pumpkin spice candles, scented pine cones and holiday bathroom sprays.

  • Decorations:

Fake spider webs, electrical cords and more can all be a safety issue to a curious 4-legged critter!

Be sure these are tucked away, or up high out of reach!

  • Safety & Identification:

Your pet's well-being is extremely important, but during the holidays is when you should use the most caution! Trick-or-Treat guests can frighten them, doorbells can startle, and flashing lights and loud sounds can create a panic. Be sure your pet is micro-chipped and their collar & tags are secured. Be sure all these are updated in case your pet gets loose.

Do NOT bring them to Halloween events or out to trick-or-treat with the kids. Leave them home with some calming music on and if needed, give them a natural remedy for anxiety. If for any reason you do have to bring them out, be sure their collar and leash are secure!

If you plan on handing out candy, keep your pet in a secured room with a special chew or puzzle toy (Maddie loves her treat ball!) so they don't get spooked, run at, or try to bite the strangers who keep arriving. Remember, they have NO idea what's going on.

To prevent door-dashing, follow the tips in this post to create impulse control. If your pet is easily triggered by motions, sounds, and strangers... I suggest reading this 2 part series on triggers!


Did Your Dog or Cat Ingest Something Toxic?!

Visit the Resources page for the 24/7 emergency hotline at Pet Poison Helpline!

There is a one time fee, but they stay with you on the case!


Learn to be Doggone Safe!

Follow these safety tips for an extra fun Halloween!


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