Afraid of the Dark (Chocolate): Petplan Pet Insurance Reports Spike in Chocolate Toxicity Claims at Halloween

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Tricks for keeping furry friends in frightfully fine form from America’s favorite pet insurer.

While Halloween can be a howling good time for family members of all ages, it can be hauntingly hazardous for four-legged friends. Sink your fangs into this scary statistic from Petplan pet insurance: During Halloween week, pets are 25% more likely to visit the veterinarian for chocolate toxicity than at other times of the year.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 158 million Americans are expected to participate in Halloween festivities, spending $2.08 billion on candy. But Petplan advises pet parents to take precautions to prevent pets from partaking in the sweetest part of Halloween.

"If your Halloween haul includes chocolaty treats of any kind, it’s a good idea to stow your stash 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 vomiting, increased thirst, diarrhea, weakness or hyper-excitability, call your veterinarian immediately."

Treatment for these toxic treats can take a toll on the family budget. According to 2012 Petplan claims data, the average cost of veterinary care related to chocolate ingestion averaged $522, and some claims even topped $3,290! (That’s a whole pillowcase-full of problems!)

In addition to chocolate consumption, the holiday poses many additional dangers to pets. To keep two- and four-legged family members safe this spooky season, Petplan urges pet parents to remember these important Halloween health tips:

  •     When Witches Come Calling: 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.
  •     Ghastly Get-Ups: According to the National Retail Federation, 13.8 percent of pet parents will dress up Fido or Fluffy for the holiday. If your furry friend will be going incognito for Halloween, be sure he can see and move around easily, and that his 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.
  •     Wrappers of Fright: Even if you’re diligent about keeping candy out of reach of pets’ 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 be sure trash is tossed in a lidded bin.
  •     Raisin’ Hell: Some pet parents prefer to hand out raisins to trick-or-treaters instead of sugary sweets. 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 with care – by keeping them well away from pets.

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

About Petplan

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. In February 2013, Petplan pet insurance was at No. 34 on Forbes annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies – a list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures. 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 (2012). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit, read the Petplan "Vets for Pets" Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Jordan Snyder
Brian Communications
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