Halloween Hazards for Your Dog or Cat

Halloween is one of the most dangerous times of year for our four-legged friends. Don’t let this holiday turn into a real-life nightmare! Below, your North Suffolk, VA vet tells you about the most common Halloween hazards and how to have your pet avoid them.

Candy and Chocolate

There’s a lot of chocolate and candy goodies floating around this time of year, especially as trick-or-treat night approaches. Remember: sweet treats and our animal companions don’t mix! Chocolate of all types contains theobromine and caffeine, chemicals that don’t agree with pets. Candies and gum are often sweetened with an artificial sugar called xylitol, which has dangerously toxic properties for animals. Keep a close eye on the treat bowl to make sure your pet doesn’t chow down.

Costume Dangers

It’s definitely cute to dress your pet up in their very own Halloween costume. Just take a few precautions to make sure your companion stays safe. First, make sure the costume is a proper fit, as clothing that’s too loose or too tight can cause great anxiety for a pet. Secondly, check the costume before the big night to make sure it doesn’t contain small parts––zippers, buttons, plastic pieces––that could be chewed off and swallowed or choked on.

Autumn Plants

Several plants and flowers that are common in the autumn––chrysanthemums, lilies, Autumn Crocus, certain wild mushrooms, and more––can prove toxic to pets. Seasonal decorative plant life such as pumpkins, dried corn, and gourds can also cause harm; they’re not toxic, but a pet who decides to munch on them could get sick from ingesting too much of a foreign body. It also presents a choking hazard!

Electronic Decorations

If you’ve set up electronic jack-o-lanterns or fake ghosts to decorate your home this holiday, keep an eye on the cords. Pets who chew on electrical wires could experience dangerous electric shocks, or they could get tangled.


One of the most serious hazards during Halloween season is the possibility of escape. The door opens frequently on trick-or-treat night, and pets could have a chance to slip out. You don’t want to search for a lost pet in the dark of night! Make sure your companion is wearing ID tags, a microchip, or both. If your pet is stressed out by the ringing of the doorbell, secure them in another room for the evening.

For more safety advice, contact your North Suffolk, VA veterinary clinic.

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