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Keeping Your Pet Safe on Halloween

October 15 2020

Halloween and trick-or-treat night are only a few short weeks away. Is your pet ready for the hustle and bustle? It’s a fun time of year for the whole family, but it’s important that you make sure your animal companion stays safe. Here, your Rancho Santa Fe, CA veterinarian tells you about some Halloween pet hazards to watch out for:

Chocolate and Candy

There’s a lot of chocolate and candy floating around your home in the weeks leading up to trick-or-treat night. Chocolate of all kinds is bad for pets—it contains stimulant chemicals like caffeine and theobromine, which don’t treat our pets well. Candies are often sweetened with xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to animals. It’s important that you don’t leave sweet treats like these lying around on countertops where pets could get at them. And keep a close eye on the trick-or-treat bowl to make sure your pet can’t gain access.


Thinking of dressing up your pet in their very own Halloween costume this year? It’ll definitely look cute. Just make sure your animal companion is okay with it. Not every pet likes wearing clothing—in fact, it can stress some pets out greatly. Do a test run before the big night to make sure your companion’s outfit fits properly, because pets don’t like clothing that fits too tightly or too loose. And check the costume for any small parts like zippers or plastic buttons that could be chewed off, swallowed, or choked on.


With the constant opening of the front door for trick-or-treaters, there’s a higher chance than normal that your pet could dart out into the night. The last thing you want to be doing on trick-or-treat night is searching for a lost pet in the dark! If your pet is the type to dart, make sure they’re safely secured indoors. It’s always a good idea to have them microchipped, wearing ID tags on the collar, or both for extra peace of mind.


Even if your pet isn’t the type to make a run for it, trick-or-treat night can cause great anxiety. The doorbell is ringing constantly, strangers are showing up to your home… For many pets, this causes a high level of stress. Consider having a family member comfort your pet through the night, or secure them in a different room away from the commotion.

Our Advice on Keeping Your Pet Safe on Halloween in 2024

Why are chocolate and candy dangerous for pets?

Chocolate and candy are dangerous for pets because they contain substances toxic to animals. Chocolate has caffeine and theobromine, stimulants that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures in pets. Candies often include xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is particularly harmful, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, and even death. These substances are not metabolized by pets’ bodies in the same way they are by humans, making them highly toxic and potentially lethal to animals if ingested.

How can you prevent your pet from escaping on Halloween?

To prevent your pet from escaping on Halloween, keep them in a secure, quiet room away from the front door to minimize the risk of darting out during trick-or-treat activities. Ensure they are microchipped and wearing ID tags for added security. Providing toys and a comfortable resting area can help distract and calm them. Additionally, regularly checking on your pet and offering comfort can alleviate anxiety caused by the noise and doorbell ringing, further reducing the impulse to escape.

How do you react if your pet does eat something dangerous?

If your pet ingests something dangerous, act quickly. First, remove any remaining hazardous substance from reach. Note what they ate and how much, as this information is crucial for veterinarians. Immediately contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal clinic. For quick, professional advice, you may also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Avoid inducing vomiting unless explicitly instructed by a veterinary professional. Fast and appropriate medical response can significantly increase the chance of a positive outcome. If you’re in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, our clinic is ready to assist with emergencies.

What are the behavioral signs you should look for that indicate your pet is stressed?

Signs of stress in pets include excessive panting, drooling, pacing, hiding, decreased appetite, and changes in bathroom habits. You might also notice more vocalizations like barking or whining, aggressive behavior, or a sudden increase in grooming activities, leading to hair loss in severe cases. Each pet may exhibit stress differently, so it’s important to pay attention to any changes in their normal behavior. Early recognition and intervention can help alleviate their stress and prevent potential health issues. If you’re concerned about your pet’s stress levels, consult with a veterinarian for guidance and support.

What about non-edible Halloween hazards?

Non-edible Halloween hazards for pets include costumes that may stress them or contain small parts, leading to choking hazards. Loud noises and frequent doorbell ringing can cause anxiety. Decorations pose risks, too; dangling wires or electric cords can lead to electrocution if chewed, and ornaments can cause intestinal blockages if ingested. Glow sticks, although not highly toxic, can cause mouth irritation and excessive drooling. Ensure your pet’s environment remains safe by keeping potentially dangerous items out of reach and closely monitoring their stress levels and behavior during Halloween festivities.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to care for your pet, don’t hesitate to call our animal clinic in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. For new pet owners, our article on ‘Resolutions For Puppies‘ provides valuable insights on raising a healthy and well-behaved furry friend. Our team of veterinary professionals is always ready to provide helpful advice and support. We offer comprehensive ‘Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations’ services to ensure your pet stays healthy and protected throughout the year.