Petplan Digs Up Haunting Pet Health Hazards on Halloween

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Candy, costumes and creepy décor top list of threats to pets

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Ghosts and goblins aren’t the spookiest thing pets encounter during the Halloween season. The hallmarks of the holiday can scare up a bone-load of trouble for furry friends. Petplan pet insurance warns that candy, costumes and creepy décor can all leave a dog or cat feeling ruff—and have a ghastly effect on a pet parent’s budget.

Petplan’s Staff Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Maniet reveals the top three hazards pet parents should beware (and their terrifying costs to treat!).

Most pet parents know that the theobromine in chocolate poses a threat, but some don’t realize that the candy can affect pets in different ways. The type of chocolate, how much a pet eats and their weight are all factors in how severely toxic chocolate can be.

Here’s how pet parents can calculate their pet’s risk:
1.    Multiply the ounces ingested by the milligrams of theobromine per ounce
2.    Divide that number by the weight of the dog
3.    The closer the resulting number is to 20, the worse the toxic effects will haunt him.

Milligrams of theobromine per ounce of chocolate:
-Baker’s 450mg
-Milk 64mg
-Dark chocolate 160mg    
-White 1mg

“If a pet ingests any amount of any kind of chocolate, this is an emergency, and it is recommended that your pet seek veterinary care as soon as possible,” says Dr. Maniet.

Food poisoning costs pet parents an average of $830 per visit.

BEDAZZLED APPAREL (foreign body ingestions)
When dressing best friends, Dr. Maniet says to be sure they can see clearly, move freely and that the costume is free of frills that can be chewed off and swallowed. She also warns that elaborate costumes in warm climates can cause a pet to overheat or become dehydrated.

“And remember: if a dog feels too constricted in his costume, ditch the threads and take him trick or treating in his one-of-a-kind, no-assembly-required dog suit,” Maniet says.

Foreign body ingestions are consistently in the top 10 claims submitted to Petplan each year and cost an average of $1,872 to treat.

Cobwebs, skeletons and scary noises make a spooky ambiance, but Petplan says to remember that what people find fun can be stressful to pets.

“Avoid using decorations that move or make noise, and think twice before putting up human-like figures that can intimidate pets,” says Maniet. “The hustle and bustle of doorbells ringing and strangers approaching can be frightening enough for some furry friends—adding to the anxiety with alarming adornments will only make their fear worse.”

Anxiety related issues cost an average of $394 to treat, while ailments stemming from an anxious moment can result in fractures ($1,175), bite wounds from other pets ($947) and lacerations/cuts ($641) among others.

“Every year our veterinarians speak out about the dangers of chocolate, candy wrappers, costumes and the like—and for good reason,” says Natasha Ashton, co-founder and co-CEO of Petplan. “With average costs to treat some of these conditions well over a thousand dollars, a simple mishap can be costlier than you’d ever imagine! Don’t forget to consider furry friends when planning Halloween fun.”

Average costs based on 2016 Petplan claims data.


Petplan has built an industry-leading pet insurance policy for pet parents who demand a higher pedigree of care for their best friends. We’ve leveraged 40 years of global experience to create completely customizable coverage pet parents can feel confident in, and world-class claims service that operates 24 hours a day, every day.

Petplan’s innovative approach to pet insurance has been recognized by Forbes, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Inc. magazine, Smart CEO, the Communicator Awards, Ernst & Young and many others.

Petplan policies are underwritten in the U.S. by XL Specialty Insurance Company and in Canada by XL Specialty Insurance Company-Canadian Branch. The company is rated A+ by S&P (2017). Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. For more information about Petplan pet insurance, visit or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Greg Wiley
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