Dog eating halloween candy with head in bowl.

Halloween is fun for the whole family, with costumes and parties and trick-or-treating. But not all pets respond positively to the festive atmosphere.

Some pets can be spooked by the tricks, treats, and other Halloween frights. The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital has compiled these safety tips to ensure a happy Halloween for everyone.

Foods to Avoid

The most obvious danger is candy. Avoiding chocolate is essential because it can be toxic to pets. Ingredients found in chocolate and cocoa beans affect the heart and central nervous system in animals and can cause restlessness, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Other foods that are bad for pets include:

  • Raisins and grapes
  • Xylitol (often found in sugar-free gum and candies)
  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Milk-based products
  • Macadamia nuts

Keep Pets Away from Open Doors in the House

If you’re passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, it may be best to put your pets in another room to keep them from being overwhelmed by all the activity. This is particularly important if your pet fears strangers or has a history of aggression.

If you don’t secure your pet in another room, make sure they can’t escape through the open door. Try using an exercise pen or gate, or keep your pet securely by your side on a leash.

Even the most sociable pet may find Halloween a bit too much. If your pet has a crate or an area where they feel safe, make sure this is available to them should they feel the need to escape the festivities for some quiet or solitude.

Be Careful with Decorations

While pumpkins aren’t toxic, the stems are hard and can cause injury or a choking hazard if your pet chews or eats them. Pumpkin seeds can cause intestinal blockage if consumed in large quantities.

Decorations such as candles, fake cobwebs, bats, ghosts, and witches may look festive, but they can all be dangerous for pets–especially those that like to explore the world with their mouths. Keep decorations high and out of your pet’s reach when in doubt.

Keep Your Pets Inside After Dark

It’s safer for everyone to keep your pet indoors during trick-or-treating hours.

If you need to take your pet out at night, ensure they’re on a leash and wearing a collar with an up-to-date identification tag. Microchips and GPS tags provide added security any time of the year.

Choose Pet Costumes Carefully

Who doesn’t enjoy seeing pets dressed in creative Halloween costumes? If your pet’s up for sporting a costume and joining in the festivities, it can be fun. 

But be aware that some costumes can be dangerous for your pet. Avoid costumes that:

  • Restrict movement
  • Cover your pet’s face
  • Have embellishments or loose pieces that could come off and be ingested.

Pets are a beloved part of the family, so keep an eye on them during Halloween festivities and make sure they don’t get into something they shouldn’t.

If you have questions or concerns about Halloween pet safety, please call us at (210) 681-1391. Our staff is always happy to help!