Dogs and Halloween don’t always mix

Published 5:04 am Friday, October 27, 2023


Halloween can be fun for the whole family, including pets, but it’s important to keep in mind that certain activities and seasonal treats can pose a serious health risk to our canine companions.

CertaPet, an animal telehealth platform, surveyed 500 U.S. dog owners to learn more about their dog’s behavior during Halloween, especially as it pertains to certain seasonal activities that can often result in high stress or health dangers for dogs.

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The survey found more than a third of dog owners (35%) have caught their dog trying to eat chocolate around Halloween time.

CertaPet offers some tips to keep pets safe from Halloween candy:

• Store all Halloween candy in high cupboards or on high shelves that your dog cannot access, even when standing on their hind legs, or climbing.

• If you have candy in bowls for trick-or-treaters, consider using containers with tight-fitting lids when not actively handing out treats.

• Make sure children understand the dangers of feeding candy to pets.

• After trick-or-treating, ensure that all candy bags are picked up and stored away immediately.

• When disposing of candy wrappers, ensure that the trash can has a secure lid. Dogs might be tempted by the scent and rummage through the garbage.

• Even with precautions, there’s always a chance your dog might ingest something they shouldn’t. Keep an eye on them for any signs of distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, or seizures.

• If you want your dog to join in the festivities, consider buying or making dog-safe treats. This way, they can have their own special snack.

• If you suspect your dog has consumed candy, especially chocolate or anything containing xylitol, contact your vet immediately.  Chocolate toxicity can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, tremors, and even internal bleeding.

In addition, 28% of dog owners say their dog barks and/or howls excessively when trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell, and 17%) say their dog exhibits other signs of anxiety (such as withdrawal, fearful behavior, running away, etc.) in response to the same.

To combat this anxiety, 43% of dog owners use calming treats to keep their dog relaxed, while 44% rely on a chew toy or bone to keep their dog occupied. Nearly 1 in 5 dog owners (19%) also play calming music to help their dog manage anxiety.