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Halloween Pet Dangers

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Halloween Pet Dangers

Most of us want to involve our pets in all of the action and excitement of our lives; but it’s not always so great for our pets. Consider Halloween. Consider it from a pet’s perspective, to be specific: the doorbell ringing repeatedly; a parade of yelling sugar-fueled “creatures” behind the door; toxic chocolate to find; decorations to get tangled up in; and how about the dreaded pet costume? (OK, I understand that not all pets are shamed by costumes, but I just keep thinking of my daughters’ dog Winky and his look of abject misery when the doggie witch costume comes out of the closet.)

It’s important to keep your pets safe this Halloween by thinking around the holiday excitement, and being aware of the little catastrophes lurking in the night. Here’s a round-up of tips from animal protection groups compiled by

  • Don’t give Halloween candy to dogs and cats. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets. Candies that have the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs–even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and lead to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion can include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and increased thirst, urination and heart rate, and even seizures. See 10 Foods Poisonous to Pets for more information.
  • Avoid putting costumes on pets. Many dogs and cats don’t like costumes, and some can confine or restrict their movements. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume doesn’t impair their movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe or bark. Also check the costume for any choking hazards. A safer alternative is a simple Halloween bandanna.
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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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11:53PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013


5:23AM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

Good tips. Thanks.

8:45PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Good info and tips.
My cats would never forgive me if I even thought about dressing them up :)

6:50PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

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7:25AM PST on Jan 19, 2011


5:18AM PST on Jan 14, 2011

Thank you

8:46PM PST on Dec 31, 2010


12:46AM PDT on Nov 7, 2010

These are all common sense do's & don'ts. I am surprised that there are some who don't know better.

4:09PM PDT on Nov 5, 2010

Pets have no idea what Halloween is and wouldn't care if we didn't dress them up in silly costumes and feed them deadly food. Why we feel the need to include animals in human traditions is beyond me, but the least anyone can do is educate themselves on what NOT to do to their pets.

2:23PM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

I agree. Halloween should be discontinued as a celebration. We have bonfires in Ireland and the police and fire brigade are stretched to the limit dealing with anti-social behaviour.

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