How To Keep Your Pets Safe At Halloween

While Halloween festivities can be fun for us, it can be quite stressful for our pets.

Many pets struggle to cope with the increased activity and noise causing their anxiety levels to rise.

That’s not to mention all the numerous delicious goodies on offer, but food that is fine for us, is often deadly toxic to our pets.

Sadly, Halloween is also a time when many pets escape and get lost.

In this article, we have compiled some of our top safety recommendations to ensure your pets enjoy Halloween just as much as we do.

Let’s get right to it.

chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats

Beware Of Chocolate And Lolly Poisoning

According to the Pet Poison Helpline calls to the hotline and vets increase by 12% around Halloween.

Many of these are related to the consumption of chocolate,  lollies containing xylitol, and grapes/raisins.

Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (a bit like caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs.

Theobromine mainly affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys so symptoms of chocolate poisoning are related to these organ systems.

If you would like to check if your dog has eaten too much chocolate, you can use our free chocolate toxicity calculator here.


Xylitol-containing lollies are much more common these days.

Xylitol  is a natural sugar substitute that, because of its anti-cavity properties for human teeth, is commonly found in “sugar-free” gum, mints, toothpaste, mouthwashes, and diet foods.

Even products like jam, peanut butter, honey, and toothpaste can contain xylitol.

Please exercise extreme caution and keep Xylitol containing products out of reach of your dogs.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a product containing xylitol contact your veterinarian, or go to your local animal emergency center right away.

Xylitol toxicity is dangerous and can be fatal for your dog, even in small quantities.

Even if you don’t allow these products into your home, at Halloween they may end up in your goodie bag.

Extreme care is needed.

With many people on a health kick these days it is more common to see grapes and raisins being handed out in goodie bags and on food platters.

The toxic substance that is contained within grapes and raisins is unknown; however, these fruits can cause kidney failure.

Lolly wrappers are also an ingestion hazard with many pets eating a fully wrapped lolly without care.

Ingestion of lolly wrappers can result in stomach cramps and pain, and in severe circumstances, surgery may be required to remove a blockage caused by the wrapper.

infographic safety tips to keep your pets safe at Halloween

Keep Wires And Electric Cords Out Of Reach

Everyone loves fairy lights and lighted animations, however, these all require some wiring and many need electricity.

ats, puppies, rats, and rabbits love to chew wires placing them at a huge risk of receiving an electric shock.

The solution is to cover the wires with a purpose covering, or use tape.

If you can’t do this or keep an eye on your pets, it may be best to keep your pets in another room or confined to their crate, cage, or kennel.

Decorations and Candles

Cats especially love to play with decorations.

Most won’t decide to eat them, but there is always one!

Make sure that tinsels are kept off ground level, those small edible-sized decorations are avoided and that glow-in-the-dark sticks and jewelry are kept away.

Swallowing decorations can cause blockages and glow sticks, whilst not toxic, will result in foaming of the mouth and increased salivation.

Candles in a pumpkin are a great tradition, but like children, pets can get a bit close and suffer burns.

Please keep candles well away from your pets. If your pet does suffer from a burn you can contact us to determine what emergency treatment to give immediately, before going to the vet.

Try Out Costumes Before The Big Night

While you think your pet might look cute and funny in a costume, for many it creates a lot of anxiety and discomfort.

If you really want to dress your pet up, try getting your pet used to the costume well ahead of time.

This allows them to become accustomed without the undue pressure of the ‘big night’ and all the commotion that goes with it.

It will also let you see that the costume fits correctly, and they can move freely and won’t choke!

one eyed cat in a pirate costume

Identify Your Pet

Many pets go missing on Halloween.

The front door is opening and closing frequently, you have friends and family in your house going in and out. It’s no surprise that this happens.

Please, please ensure your pet is well identified.

Make sure the microchip details are up to date.

Perhaps consider a temporary collar with an ID tag for the period around Halloween and Guy Fawkes?

On the night, keep your pet out in a secure backyard, or locked away in a room out of sight.

Definitely keep them well away from the front door to avoid escapes!

Remember that many pets won’t be comfortable with the commotion, so keeping them out of sight will also lessen their anxiety levels.

If anxiety is an issue, then there are medications that a vet can prescribe for you.

Our vets can recommend over-the-counter medications and provide pet scripts* to assist with anxiety. (*Conditions apply).

Our Top 5 Tips To Survive Halloween With Pets

Halloween is a time for fun and games, unfortunately for many pets, it is very stressful.  Key things to remember:

1. Ensure pets don’t have access to lollies and chocolate

2. Make sure they are microchipped and have a secure identification tag on a collar.

3. Keep electrical wires well wrapped or keep the pet well away.

4. Try costumes out before the big day to ensure your pet isn’t stressed and they fit.

5. Keep your pet in a room or secure backyard to prevent them from escaping.

Have fun!!

Video Tutorial: 5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips With Dr Leigh