Costume parties, jack-o-lanterns, scary movies, and trick-or-treating: Halloween is almost here, and can be fun for all ages. One of the most exciting things of all for many – especially the under 12’s – is candy, candy, candy. However, the endless variety of treats and candy is actually a big safety concern for our pets, who may seek to overturn the candy bowl and consume everything inside.
Here’s how to practice Halloween pet safety and prevent your pet from the dangers of ingesting candy – the most common pet emergency on and around Halloween.
The Big One
You might assume that all candy is bad for pets, and you’d be right. But there are some candy culprits that are worse than others. In particular, chocolate candy is one of the most toxic to pets, depending on what kind of chocolate and how much the pet ate. Chocolate can cause GI upset, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors, and seizures.
Dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain higher concentrations of caffeine and theobromine, the compounds that cause problems for pets. All chocolate should be kept out of pets’ reach, and should never be given to them as a treat.
Not So Sweet
Sugary treats of the season can also cause problems for pets. Although they may not be as toxic as chocolate, candy corn, taffy, and caramel (and the like) can all cause GI upset, gas, bloating, and diarrhea in pets. Sugar of any kind is definitely a no-no when it comes to Halloween pet safety!
Hard candy is also a risk, both from choking and from inhaling smaller bits into the windpipe.
In recent years, a sugar substitute called Xylitol has made a big splash as an additive to sugar free candy, gum, and peanut butter. Although it may be sweet news for people, Xylitol is extremely toxic to pets. It causes a severe drop in blood sugar, hypoglycemia, mobility issues, seizures, liver failure, and even death. If you suspect your pet ate something with Xylitol in it, see your veterinarian immediately.
It’s a Wrap
Candy may seem the obvious issue for Halloween pet safety, but nary a pet has unwrapped candy before eating it. To that end, cellophane, aluminum foil, and paper wrappers can all cause GI upset and painful intestinal blockage. A serious foreign body obstruction may even require surgery to remove it.
Halloween Pet Safety and Candy
One of the simplest and best things you can do to prevent pets from a candy toxicity is to simply store candy out of their reach. Remember that both the pre-holiday candy bowl as well as the post-haul pillow case should find pet-safe storage at all times.
If you have any questions about preventing a pet Halloween candy disaster, or about pet health in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And from King’s Trail Animal Hospital, have a Happy (and safe) Howl-o-Ween!