Taking the Trick Out of Howl-o-ween Treats with the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

October 27, 2017

a pug in a halloween costume

The spookiest day of the year is right around the corner! That means it’s time to pull out a bevy of treats and pick out your costume, but don’t forget to look out for your four-legged friends! Like any holiday, Halloween brings with it a number of potential pet hazards and behaviors to watch out for, especially in the form of tasty candy and treats. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure you’ve got all the facts about the dangers of Halloween candy to ensure a fun and safe holiday with your pets. 

No sweets for your sweetie. 

Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Here’s why:

  • Many assorted candies contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination, possibly seizures and liver failure. 
  • Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate can also be poisonous to animals, especially dogs. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines that upon ingestion could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, tremors, seizures and even death.

Also, watch out for those wrappers. Cats love to play with shiny candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.

It is best to make sure that you lock any Halloween candy safely away and out of paws’ reach. Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, but a dog's keen sense of smell will lead them to even the most cleverly hidden treasures. 

Keep in mind: Trick-or-treating is for kids, not pets. 

While we may want to include our furry family members in all of our holiday activities, during trick-or-treating hours it is best to keep pets at home, in a room away from your front door. Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and many people out on the streets. Pets may escape the safety of their home and get away from their pet parents. Always make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with proper identification tags and/or is microchipped in case of an emergency. 

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, contact your veterinarian or call Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately.