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Halloween Dangers and Pets

Top Halloween Dangers for Your Pets

Halloween is a spooky time and brings out goblins, ghouls, and ghosts. Many of us like to include ours by dressing them up in costume and taking them out trick-or-treating with us. It can be hard for our four-legged family members to see us snacking on those sweet and delicious smelling treats we collected. Their curiosity can get the better of them, which will lead them to raid your children’s bag of candy when no one is looking.

Did you know the four most common food-related Halloween hazards for pets are candy, chocolate, raisins, and wrappers?


Like you, pets love candy. What’s not to love??? The sweet smells, tastes and the oh so yummy sugar! Pets don’t discriminate when it comes to the kind either. They will gorge themselves on snacks and food meant for humans even if in the long run it causes chocolate candy bars overflowing out of pumpkin buckets them an upset stomach or worse.

A belly full of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Potentially fatal, pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and very painful and can cause painful bouts of diarrhea. Pancreatitis can be a sneaky ailment as it may not show up for a few days after your pup has ingested a bowl full of holiday goodies.

Symptoms include:

  • Decreased Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Kidney Failure


pile of chocolate candy bars for halloween Of all candy, chocolate is one of the most toxic to pets. Many dogs are inherently attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate, making it a significant threat. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. The chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous to pets, methylxanthines, are similar to caffeine and more heavily concentrated in the darker varieties.

In fact, a 50-pound dog can be sickened by ingesting only one ounce of Baker’s chocolate!

To avoid issues, keep Halloween candy well out of the reach of pets at all times. If you think your pet may have ingested chocolate,


Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Agitation
  • Increased Thirst
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Seizures


Mini boxes of raisins have become a popular, healthier treat handed out at Halloween and like candy and chocolate, they are highly raisins falling out of box of sun-maid brandpoisonous to dogs.

Very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs and, potentially, cats. When it comes to your pets, raisins deserve the same pet-proofing treatment as chocolate. Unfortunately, some dogs can be affected by just one raisin!

Therefore, any ingestion of raisins or grapes should be treated as a “poisoning” case.

Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Severe Kidney Failure

Cat Owners Beware!

There’s nothing you can safely give to CATS if they’ve eaten something poisonous.

Products like salt, mustard, syrup of ipecac, and hydrogen peroxide aren’t safe to give in cats, and you need to seek immediate veterinary attention if your cat has eaten something poisonous. Your veterinarian has more effective drugs called alpha-adrenergic agonist drugs to help induce vomiting.

If your cat has ingested any amount of candy or chocolate, we recommend taking them to the nearest emergency hospital as soon as possible.

Hydrogen Peroxide and Dogs

Did you know when used correctly, hydrogen peroxide is used to induce vomiting in dogs, but just how much is safe?

According to PetMD.com, the suggested amount is 1 milliliter (ml) of 3% hydrogen peroxide per pound of dog weight, using either the syringe or teaspoon.

One teaspoon is approximately five ml. The maximum amount of hydrogen peroxide to be given at any one time is 45 ml, even if a dog weighs over 45 pounds. Squirt the hydrogen peroxide into the back of the dog’s mouth using the syringe or turkey baster.

1 teaspoon per 5 lbs of the dog’s body weight, with a maximum of 3 tablespoons. There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon, so the maximum dose for dogs who weigh more than 45 lbs is 3 tablespoons per dose.

Keep in mind if you give too much hydrogen peroxide it can cause bloody vomiting and/or uncontrollable vomiting, so it’s important to always use the correct amount. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian.

XYLITOL the big Danger to Pets!

The artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Xylitol is found in sugar-free gum and other “low calorie” foods. If ingested and not immediately treated, it can lead to low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and or death.

What Do I Do If My Pet Has Eaten Candy, Chocolate or Raisins?

The first thing to do is call your veterinarian as soon as you’ve realized that your pet has ingested any kind of candy, chocolate or raisins. Their expert opinion will take into consideration the amount and type of poison consumed, the size and age of your pet and their health history.

Sometimes, the larger your pet is, the less affected they will be than a smaller pet that eats the same amount and type of candy, chocolate or raisin ingested.

Your vet will most likely ask if your pet has already vomited up the candy or chocolate because pets will often purge toxins on their own. If they haven’t expelled the goodies yet, your vet may recommend bring them to the nearest emergency hospital.

How to Avoid Potential Dangers on Halloween

Always put away your Halloween candy. Also, do this with food that uses Xylitol. It’s not so much that your dog and cat have a sweet tooth, it’s more that they will eat anything and everything they see. That’s why it’s best to leave toxic foods in a safe place away from them!

Halloween, candy, chocolate, and raisins go hand in hand, but no one wants to end up in at the emergency animal hospital that night. Watch your pets around the cauldron and trick-or-treat bags and let your kids know the dangers of feeding their goodies to your pets.

For more information or help call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

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