Halloween safety for your pets

Poncho and Wallace doing their best impressions of monsters.

The leaves are changing, the air is colder, and it’s quite obvious… winter is coming – but not before some people’s most favourite ‘holiday.’ Halloween is this tomorrow!

The dangers of chocolate have been well known for a while now, but what about some other things that could end up in the treat bag? Gums or any other candy containing xylitol can be fatal, as well. Once digested, it can cause liver failure and low blood sugar causing seizures. They will need to be decontaminated ASAP and while the smell of spearmint laden vomit is not horrid, we’d rather your pet not take the chance.

Whether you hate raisins or not, somebody might try to add some ‘healthy’ variety to the kids candy haul by dropping those little snack boxes of raisins in their bag. Don’t just toss them aside, though, because if your pets get a hold of them, they could potentially develop kidney failure. More information about the toxicity of grapes and raisins is still being discovered, specifically regarding what is causing the problem but also how much it takes.

Dressing your pet up? Sure why not!? Lots of people enjoy dressing the pets up along with the kids because let’s face it, they’re really cute. Check for loose strings that cats may swallow or pieces not secure that could also be eaten. Many of these costumes also use an elastic string to help keep your pet dressed so it’s crucial that it’s not too tight to cause choking, constriction of a leg, or causing stress to your pet by being uncomfortable or restrictive.

Got a black cat? The superstitions of black cats on a Friday the 13th and the origins of people’s fears date back to witchcraft. The same rules apply at Halloween because people and kids can be mean and may harm black cats due to ignorance. It’s best to keep them indoors during Halloween. The other component of this is stress. It’s a crazy night… doorbells ringing, laughter, strange people dressed in strange costumes. Cats may do well hiding, but dogs might not have it so easy and if any of these things trigger anxiety in them, it can make for a rough night. Set them up a quiet or safe space where they can be isolated if needed. A crate works well in a room far away from the front door and a radio or TV might help drown out some of the excess or strange noises.

Have a safe and happy Halloween with your pets, everyone! Be sure to share photos of your pets in costume in the comments!


Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can find more of his writing at www.DRRYANLLERA.com, or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

If there’s something you’ve often wondered or have questions about, let us know by email at [email protected].

*Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian. Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.

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