Sink Your Fangs Into This: Petplan Pet Insurance Finds Halloween Health Hazards Can Haunt Furry Friends

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America’s Top-Rated Pet Insurance Provider Offers Tips to Keep Pets From Peril

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Regardless of the type of chocolate, it’s a good idea to keep the basket of Halloween treats well out of reach of furry friends

While Halloween can be frightfully fun for kids and adults alike, it can be surprisingly scary for four-legged family members. Here’s a nasty number: In 2011, No. 1-rated Petplan pet insurance found that candy-related claims were 245% more likely to occur during Halloween week than any other time of the year.

This year, a record 170 million Americans will partake in Halloween festivities and spend more than $2.33 billion on candy, according to the National Retail Federation. And chocolate – the most poisonous candy for pets – leads the list of popular treats.

But for four-legged friends, a chocolaty snack can suck the family budget dry. According to 2011 Petplan claims data, the average cost of veterinary care related to chocolate ingestion averaged $582 per incident (up from $503 last year), and some claims even topped $3,290! (That’s a whole pillowcase-full of problems!)

“Regardless of the type of chocolate, it’s a good idea to keep the basket of Halloween treats well out of reach of furry friends,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan. “Dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of toxins like methylxantines and caffeine, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting or elevated heart rate, and can even be fatal if ingested. Lighter milk chocolate has a higher fat content, which can lead to serious medical conditions like pancreatitis. If you notice your pet experiencing any of the signs of vomiting, increased thirst, diarrhea, weakness or hyper-excitability, call your veterinarian immediately.”

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 urges pet parents to remember these important Halloween health tips:

  •     Dashing for the Door: If you’re expecting lots of ghosts and goblins to ring your doorbell, 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 bed where your pet can stay safe and sound. Also, make sure your pet has a microchip. The tiny chip, implanted easily between your pet’s shoulder blades, will make a reunion much easier if she feels like haunting the neighborhood for a spell.
  •     Devil Dogs and Bewitched Cats: According to the National Retail Federation, 15.1 percent of pet parents will dress up Fido or Fluffy for the holiday, up from 14.7 percent in 2011. If your furry friend will be going incognito for Halloween, be sure his vision is clear, his movement is unencumbered and that the costume is free of frills that could easily be chewed off and/or swallowed. Remember too that pets can become overheated and dehydrated in their disguises, even in cooler weather.
  •     Packaging Perils: Even if you’re diligent about keeping candy out of reach of your pet’s prying paws, beware of their wrappers, which can prove horrifyingly hazardous. They can become lodged in your pet’s intestines, causing an obstruction that could require surgery, so keep a lidded trash can handy.
  •     Raisins = Risky: Some pet parents prefer to skip candy altogether, opting to hand out raisins to trick-or-treaters instead. While healthier for children, raisins are terribly toxic 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 – by keeping them well away from pets.

For more information on keeping your pets protected around Howl-o’ween and all year, visit

Top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Petplan’s fully customizable dog insurance and cat insurance policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan pet insurance policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2011). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit, read the Petplan Pet Insurance Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Bill Tierney
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