October 24, 2011 Responsible Pet Ownership

Is Halloween Scary for Pets?

A dog wearing a camouflage costume

Is Halloween Scary for Pets?

This adorable puppy is The Animal Medical Center’s 2010 Pet Halloween Costume Contest winner. Although there is nothing scary about Caxton, there are a few things that can make Halloween a scary night for pets and their owners.

I can assure you that the most frightening part of the spooky holiday is not the masks, the creepy music or the fake spiderwebs. The scariest part of Halloween for pets might be what’s inside the trick-or-treat bag or an unplanned escape out the front door.

The Scary Trick-or-Treat Bag

The trick-or-treat bag is scary for dogs, because it will likely contain treats that, if indiscriminately eaten by your dog, will result in a frightful trip to the animal ER, putting a definite damper on your Halloween fun. Chocolate contains a substance similar to caffeine and can make your dog very sick. Little boxes of raisins have also found their way into trick-or-treat bags. While raisins make a great snack for kids, they can damage the kidneys of your dog. Some trick-or-treat bags contain a double whammy – chocolate covered raisins! And, don’t forget to monitor the mints and gum in the trick-or-treat bag as well. Xylitol is often used as a sugar subsitute to protect the teeth of young children, but xylitol is toxic for dogs (and ferrets, too). Keep the treats away from your dog and your dog away from the animal ER.

The Great Escape

With all the commotion at the front door, your dog and cat will also want to be part of the Halloween action. Halloween is not a participation event for the family dog and cat. Escaping between the legs of excited trick-or-treaters is all too easy and dangerous. Play it safe on Halloween. Give your pets a new toy and put them safely in the bedroom, the basement or their crate. Be sure they are wearing their ID collars and double check the microchip registry to be sure your address is up to date, just in case they do slip outside.

So there you have it. It’s not Halloween that is scary to pets; what’s scary to pets are everyday things like chocolate and getting lost without a collar or microchip.

Are you dressing your pet up for Halloween? If you have photos, you can enter The Animal Medical Center’s Pet Halloween Costume Contest on Facebook.

Photo: Courtesy of the AMC


This may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog on WebMD.com.

For over a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

Tags: animal medical center, cat, dogs, ferret, haloween contest, haloween costume, ID collar, pet health, pets, trick or treat, veterinarian, xylitol,

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