Many people love the candy, costumes, and frightening fun that make up Halloween, but this spooky holiday can be hazardous for pets. Our team at Greenfield Veterinary Clinic shares terrifying tales of near pet emergencies to highlight potential Halloween dangers.
Cooper and the Candy Caper: Keep pets away from candy
Cooper the Labrador retriever had a bad habit of sticking his nose into places—and food—he shouldn’t. In the days leading up to Halloween, Cooper watched his family bring home bags of candy and carefully store them in kitchen cabinets, where—unfortunately—he could not reach them. Cooper could smell the delicious chocolates, raisins, and sweets, and couldn’t understand why his family was holding out on him. However, Cooper’s luck changed—or at least he thought—on Halloween night, when he saw his owner carrying a bowl filled with all the treats. He watched quietly as his owner shared the treats with strangely clad figures on the porch, closed the front door, put the bowl on a low living room table, and walked into the kitchen. Cooper seized his chance. He quietly snuck to the bowl, and took his pick.
- Halloween safety tip — Many of the most popular Halloween candies contain ingredients that can be toxic for pets. Cooper’s story shows that accessible candy and a curious pet can be a recipe for disaster. Depending on the candy type and the amount consumed, Cooper could have experienced uncomfortable digestive issues, hypoglycemia, kidney failure, and other potentially life-threatening consequences. No candy is pet-safe, but the following Halloween treats are especially dangerous:
- Chocolate — Although dark, bitter chocolate is the most toxic, milk chocolate consumed in significant quantities can also trigger cardiovascular and gastrointestinal effects.
- Xylitol — This natural sweetener, commonly found in sugar-free candy, gum, mints, and baked goods, causes a rapid drop in blood sugar and can lead to acute liver failure and death.
- Raisins — Raisins are a popular candy alternative on Halloween, but they, along with grapes, can lead to acute kidney failure if ingested by a pet.
To avoid this common Halloween hazard, keep your candy bowl where your pet cannot reach, and remind children not to share their candy with your pet.
Blossom bolts: Avoid a lost pet on Halloween
Blossom the schnauzer was usually an easy-going gal, and her owners had no reason to think that Halloween would upset her. However, as the sun was setting on Halloween and Blossom was curled up in her usual spot by the front door, about to close her eyes, the doorbell suddenly rang. Blossom was used to the doorbell, but when she lazily opened one eye to see who was at the door, she saw flashing lights and dark figures, one of them holding a loud toy chainsaw. Blossom was terrified. All she could think about was getting away from the awful sights and sounds, and she bolted out the front door. She was gone in an instant.
- Halloween safety tip — Halloween’s strange sights and sounds can frighten the most mild-mannered pets, who will react on an impulse and run away through an open door. Prevent your pet from slipping outside as you greet trick-or-treaters by keeping them in a quiet area away from the door. Also, ensure your pet is microchipped and wears an ID tag, both with your current contact information, so they have a good chance of being returned to you should they escape.
Finn starts a fire: Decorate with your pet in mind
Finn watched as his family decorated the house with all sorts of new toys—at least they looked like toys to him. His favorite was the spooky jack-o’-lanterns with their strange glow on the inside that were sitting on the windowsills. He decided to investigate. Finn propped his paws on the windowsill, nudged a jack-o’-lantern with his nose, and watched the orange ball fall to the ground near the drapes. Suddenly, the glow grew bigger.
- Halloween safety tip — Candles give jack-o’-lanterns a spooky glow, but they can become a hazard if a curious pet knocks them over. Keep carved pumpkins outside or where your pet cannot reach, and consider battery-operated candles to avoid a fire. Jack-o’-lanterns aren’t the only potentially dangerous decor—electrical cords, glow sticks, fake spider webs, and dry ice can all cause problems for pets.
We hope these stories help you keep your pet safe this Halloween by avoiding common pet hazards. Remember to microchip your pet before Halloween, since that is one of the holidays when most pets get lost. Contact Greenfield Veterinary Clinic to schedule an appointment for this quick, painless, essential procedure.