BOO! Halloween Can Be Scary For Pets!

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East Bay SPCA Urges Pet Parents to Follow These Tips for a Safe Howl-o-Ween

Ingesting candy can have a tragic outcome, yet it’s very easy to prevent.

Candy, costumes, parades and spooky skeletons may give us a thrill, but please consider your pet’s perspective this Halloween. The East Bay SPCA urges pet parents to follow these common sense tips to ensure that Halloween does not turn into a fright night for your pets.

Halloween Candy and Treats

Make sure that bowl of candy is kept far out of reach from dogs and cats as many of these seasonal goodies can cause serious illness, even death. Keep candy in the refrigerator or behind cupboard doors. Even a sealed container may not be safe from a determined dog who wants what’s inside!

“Each year we treat dogs that have ingested large quantities of chocolate, wrappers and all. Nearly every time this occurs, the owners left Halloween candy out or unattended. Ingesting candy can have a tragic outcome, yet it’s very easy to prevent,” said East Bay SPCA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Mike Sozanski.

  • Chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to our four-legged friends, should be kept out of reach and never given to pets!
  • Gum and other candy. Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, and some baked goods. Ingesting xylitol can cause toxicosis and may lead to death for your pet.
  • Table scraps. Whether its fall harvest feast or spooky cupcakes, refrain from feeding your pet table scraps and ask your guests to do the same. Many seemingly harmless items such as grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and some nuts are toxic for pets.

Pet Costumes

If you’ve ever seen a Dachshund in a hot dog costume or a Bulldog dressed like a pumpkin then you know why we love to dress up our pets. But even if they look a little foolish, don’t be a fool. To keep your pet happy and safe, follow these simple tips:

  • Comfort. Your pet will probably let you know right away whether or not they enjoy wearing a costume. If he/she freezes, thrashes or tries to pull off the costume, please respect his/her idea of Halloween fun. Costumes should be fun for everyone, and not cause undue stress or harm to your best friend.
  • Safety. Avoid costumes with dangling accoutrements such as fringe, sequins or beads. Your pet could ingest or choke on them. Also make sure the costume fits well and does not constrict in any way, impair vision or hearing, and allows them to breathe normally, drink water, bark or meow.
  • Identification. Don’t swap out your pet’s collar and ID tags because they don’t match the cute costume. With all the excitement around Halloween, many pets become frightened and slip out through open doors and windows. In addition to having ID tags, all pets should be microchipped. East Bay SPCA offers affordable drop-in microchipping services.

Trick or Treating
Pets are a part of our family and some will be invited along to trick-or-treat or participate in Halloween parades. Please be mindful of your pet’s behavior. If they are showing signs of anxiety such as crouching or growling, take them home. Let them stay in a safe environment where they are comfortable.

And in case you missed it the first time – no candy! Bring along a bag of dog treats for costumed canines instead.

Finally, The East Bay SPCA does not recommend trick or treating door to door with your pooch. Your dog may be well-behaved, but you don’t know if there is an unwelcoming animal behind the door you’re knocking on next. Boo! No one gets a treat for a silly trick like that.

About the East Bay SPCA
The East Bay SPCA is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit committed to the welfare of cats and dogs in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We strive to eliminate animal cruelty, neglect and overpopulation by providing programs and education that support people and companion animals. We operate two adoption centers and two spay/neuter centers in Oakland and Dublin. We offer dog training classes and humane education programs at both locations and provide a full-service veterinary clinic in Oakland. The East Bay SPCA is one of the nation’s oldest humane organizations, in operation since 1874, and receives no funding from any national organizations. Visit

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Rita Wilds
East Bay SPCA
+1 (510) 563-4621
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