Halloween Safety for Pet Parents

Halloween and trick-or-treat may be a lot of fun for us and our kids, but it can get downright scary for our four-legged friends! Beware of these common pet hazards this time of year as discussed by your Tampa veterinarian.


Chocolate treats abound as the holiday draws near. As most pet owners know, chocolate of all types is very toxic to pets and should be avoided at all times. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, seizures, and even coma if left untreated. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, rush him to your local veterinary emergency room for prompt treatment.


Many candies, gums, and baked goods are sweetened with xylitol, an artificial sugar. Xylitol won’t hurt us, but it is highly toxic to pets. Even a few sticks of gum or pieces of candy can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Keep candy stored safely in cabinets, and don’t let your pet anywhere near the trick-or-treat candy bowl.


Some pet owners like dressing their pets up around this time of year. If your pet is fine with it and the costume is safe, go ahead, but remember that not all pets will appreciate a costume. Some dogs and cats will become overwhelmed by the sensation of wearing a costume. Also make sure costumes don’t have small, breakable pieces that could be choked on.


Make sure the cords and wires of any light-up pumpkins or ghosts are safely secured so a pet can’t get tangled up. Also, it’s best to keep your pet away from decorative holiday corn or real pumpkins. While these substances aren’t toxic, they will upset your pet’s stomach should he or she ingest too much.


On trick-or-treat night, the doorbell will probably ring dozens of times if you live in a populated neighborhood. If your pet is one that gets excited every time the bell rings, the night might be exhausting. Plus, many dogs or cats might try to dart out the door every time it opens. It may be safest to keep your pet tethered up or secured in another room during trick-or-treat.

Don’t let this Halloween become a nightmare—consult your Tampa veterinarian for more helpful holiday tips!

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