dogs in ghost halloween costumes

Halloween Hazards for Pets

It’s getting close to Halloween, and soon your little goblins and ghosties will be bringing home their treasure troves of candies from their Trick-or-treat haunts. If you have pets in the house, be sure to keep those treats away from prying paws! Some ingredients can cause illness, or even death.

Halloween candy hazards

Here are some examples of ingredients found in candies and other ingestibles that can be dangerous for your pet to consume:


Xylitol (a sweetner substitute) is highly toxic to pets. It’s used in sugar-free candies, nut butters, chewing gum, and oral care products – just to name a few. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures

This toxin acts quickly, so there’s no time to waste. Symptoms can present anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours after ingestion. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten something containing Xylitol, call your vet or get to a veterinary ER immediately. Time is of the essence – Xylitol can kill your pet in as little as an hour after ingestion. The FDA has an informative article about the effects of Xylitol on animals.


Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and can be to some cats as well. The level of toxicity varies based on size/weight/age/breed, and may affect some animals while others suffer no ill effects at all. But it’s best to be safe and keep it completely out of your pet’s reach.

Hard candies

Hard candies pose a choking hazard, and can cause broken teeth if your pet decides to crunch down on a hardball candy or jawbreaker. Your pet can also choke on lollipop sticks. So keep these things away from your pets. Teach your kids not to have lollipops or hard candies in their mouth when playing with pets. This can cause your child to choke or break their teeth, as well, if the pet gets rambunctious with a child while a lollipop is in their mouth.

Better safe than sorry

When your little ones come home with their Halloween haul, make sure you check through their candy with care. They may want to share their sweets with their furry pals, so this is a good time to explain to them why there are things that they shouldn’t share with the pets in the home. Store their candy safely in tightly covered containers, and put them in cupboards or refrigerate them, out of your pets’ reach.

Have a happy – and safe – Halloween!

*For more information on Halloween pet safety, contact the Jackson County Animal Protection Society or your local vet.

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