Spooky ghosts. Glowing pumpkins. Haunted houses and trick-or-treaters. We usually think of these fun activities when we think of Halloween, but many pet owners aren’t aware that it’s actually one of the more dangerous days of the year for dogs and cats. Fortunately, with a little bit of simple planning, you can make sure that your pet is happy and safe. That is exactly what this article is about! In the next few minutes, you will learn about the most common dangers to your pet during Halloween along with how to prevent them. This way, you can relax and enjoy the spooky sites!


Chocolate & Candy

You likely are already aware that sweets are bad for your pet. But during Halloween season, it’s important to take extra precautions, as candy and chocolate are typically a cornerstone of the holiday and thus everywhere. As you can see in the table above, even a small amount of chocolate can be toxic for dogs and cats. The resulting health problems can be serious, and even fatal. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous form of chocolate for pets, followed by dark chocolate.

There is also a common artificial sweetener in many candies that can be very harmful to pets – xylitol. This ingredient can be found in a wide range of products and is especially dangerous for dogs. Even a small amount can cause a sudden and significant drop in blood sugar and seizures.

It’s important to make sure any and all candy is kept safely out of reach of pets at all times. We recommend keeping candy in cabinets or locked pantries. Even the wrappers on candy pose a health risk to pets – when ingested, a wrapper can become stuck in your pet’s digestive system, causing an intestinal blockage. This is an emergency situation that often requires surgery.

Chocolate poisoning symptoms:

  • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures


Please call us immediately if you notice any of these symptoms, as it may be an emergency situation. If our office is closed for the night, you can reach the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.



Of all the nights of the year, Halloween is one of the most common for pets to run away. Trick-Or-Treaters and party-goers cause doors to often open to the outside, providing an escape route. This, combined with an excess of strangers in their home territory, can cause a quick dash out the front door to be appealing even to pets who are typically well trained. It’s important to take special precautions to make sure that your dog or cat does not have access to the front door; on a related note, even well behaved dogs have been known to growl at trick-or-treaters because of the perceived encroachment on their territory by strangers. We recommend setting up a gated or secured room that your pet can’t escape and is comfortable for them.

An important note: Runaway pets are safely returned at a much higher rate to their owners when they are microchipped. If your dog or cat is not yet microchipped, please call us now and arrange an appointment. Microchipping your pet is safe, painless, fast, and inexpensive.


Animal Cruelty

It’s a terrible fact that there is a spike in animal cruelty cases near Halloween every year. Some people will tease, injure, steal, or even kill pets. These incidences spike on Halloween night. Black cats are especially vulnerable. In fact, it’s such a problem that many times animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the month of October.

Please, keep your pet safely indoors during Halloween. And it’s smart to remain vigilant on the days surrounding Halloween as well, as there is still a heightened risk.



They make us laugh, they make us happy. But sometimes costumes can distress pets, and can even become safety threats to them. If you plan on dressing your dog or cat up in a costume during Halloween, make sure to try it on them for a few minutes first. Carefully watch for any signs of stress or discomfort. If they show these signs, it’s best to forego the costume plans. More importantly, make sure that your pet’s breathing or movement isn’t restricted by the costume, and that they can fully open and close their mouths. Keep away from costumes that have dangling parts, as these can become choking hazards for your pet.



Jack-O-Lanterns can be knocked over by unsuspecting or curious pets. Kittens are particularly at risk, as they are often very curious about the glowing object and can burn themselves. Make sure that your pet never has unsupervised access to lit jack-o-lanterns. Additionally, pumpkin seeds can cause an intestinal obstruction when swallowed by smaller pets.

Dangling decorations or wires can entice pets to play with them. They can quickly become ensnared, and sometimes, this can cause strangulation. Make sure any such decorations are in a place that your dog or cat has no ability to access.


Now that you are prepared about the scary, you can relax and enjoy the spooky! Our team at Animal Hospital of Oceanway wishes you and your pet the Happiest of Halloweens!