Petplan Pet Insurance Says Halloween Can Be Howlingly Scary for Pets

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America’s top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, warns against top holiday health hazards.

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Many pet parents don’t realize that as little as one ounce of chocolate can poison a medium-sized dog, so make sure candy and treats are kept in secure containers, out of reach of furry friends.

While Halloween can be fanciful fun for adults and children, it can be especially scary for four-legged family members. Here’s a nasty number: Petplan claims data reveals a 284 percent increase in claims filed for candy-related pet health issues and emergencies during Halloween week.

This year, a record 161 million Americans will partake in Halloween festivities and spend more than $1.9 billion on 598 million pounds of candy, according to Nielsen. And chocolate - the most poisonous candy for pets - leads the list of popular treats.

“Chocolate is one of the more dangerous household threats to pets. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the greater the hazard,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “Many pet parents don’t realize that as little as one ounce of chocolate can poison a medium-sized dog, so make sure candy and treats are kept in secure containers, out of reach of furry friends. If you suspect you have a canine chocoholic in the house, watch your pet for signs of poisoning, which include vomiting, increased thirst, diarrhea, weakness and hyper-excitability.”

Need more cause for caution? According to 2010 claims data from Petplan, America’s top-rated pet insurance company, the most claimed-for issues are related to gastrointestinal problems. The average cost of veterinary care related to chocolate ingestion averaged $503 per incident, and some claims even topped $3,000! (That’s a lot of candy corn!)

While candy consumption is the most prevalent Halloween health risk, the holiday poses many additional dangers to pets. To keep two- and four-legged family members safer in this spooky season, Petplan would like pet parents to be aware of some additional health hazards:

  • Runaway Pets: If you’re expecting lots of ghosts and goblins at your door, make sure your pet isn’t tempted to go trick-or-treating with them! Consider setting up a room with water, food, toys and a comfy pet bed, where your pet can stay safe and sound. Also, make sure your pet has a microchip. The tiny chip, implanted easily in the back of your dog’s neck, will make a reunion much easier should he/she feel like haunting the neighborhood for a spell.
  • Pet Costumes: According to the National Retail Federation, 14.7 percent of pet parents will dress up Fido or Fluffy for the holiday. If you fall into the costuming category, be sure your pet’s vision is clear, their movement is unencumbered and that the costume is free of frills that can easily be chewed off and/or swallowed. Take temperature into account, too, as pets clothed in costumes can become overheated and dehydrated.
  • Candy Wrappers: Even if you’re careful to keep candy out of reach of your pet’s prying paws, beware of their wrappers, which can prove horrifyingly hazardous. They can lead to intestinal obstruction, which often requires surgery.
  • Raisins: Some pet parents prefer to skip candy altogether, opting to hand out mini-boxes of raisins to trick-or-treaters instead. While healthier for children, raisins are extremely poisonous to pets – especially dogs. Even in small doses, raisin consumption can cause kidney failure in four-legged family members, so treat these treats the same as you would sugary sweets.

For more information on how to protect your pets around Howl-o’ween, please visit

As America's top-rated pet insurance provider and the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest growing privately held companies in America, Petplan, through one or more licensed insurers, offers customizable policies to meet any coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. The policies offered by Petplan cover all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet – without dollar limits per condition. For information, visit or call 1-866-467-3875.


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Sara McMillan
Petplan Pet Insurance
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Bill Tierney
Brian Communications
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