Halloween and our pets: How to keep pets safe at the holiday

By Dr. Brandy Middleton Boykin


Halloween can literally be a scary time of year for cats and dogs. One reason is because of the costumes that some people wear. Pets are not acclimated to people wearing costumes and can become shy, aggressive, or even run away and become lost. The best thing to do around Halloween is to put your pets in an area where they will not see these people so as to keep your pet happy and avoid any unforeseen actions that might occur due to them being scared.

Another and more important reason is the potential for pets to eat the candy that is so plentiful during this time of the year. Cats and dogs are very inquisitive in nature and thus will investigate new things with their mouth. In particular, chocolate is a very common candy that is ingested by cats and dogs. This can be deadly for them. There are several different forms of chocolate. The most common forms are milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and baking chocolate. These are listed in order of toxicity from least toxic to most toxic. Don’t be misled though, if your pet ingests any form of chocolate, call us immediately because the sooner the matter is handled, the better it will be for your pet.

Common clinical signs of chocolate ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, hyper-excitability, restlessness, and even seizures. The treatment for chocolate ingestion varies based on how soon treatment is initiated. Treatment can range from giving an emetic, to make the pet vomit, to hospitalization and intravenous fluids. In any case of suspected chocolate ingestion, or other type of toxin ingestion in your pet, always call a veterinarian to seek advice and treatment.

Editor’s note: Dr. Brandy Middleton Boykin is a veterinarian with Brandy’s Animal Care Center in Eupora.