Orchard Vet's Blog

A Spook-tastic idea!


Cat with pumpkins

With the spooky season fast approaching we’ve put together a list of potential hazards at home to help make sure you, and your pet, have a safe and happy Halloween.

Keep chocolate out of reach

There can be a lot of chocolate knocking about at this time of year and though it may be tempting to involve your pet in some ghoulish festivities chocolate can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic to dogs and mainly affects the guts, heart, central nervous system, and kidneys with darker chocolate typically containing the most theobromine. If your dog eats chocolate you should call us immediately.

For more advice on chocolate and pets click here.

Stash the sweets

Sadly our pooch pals shouldn’t be allowed any sweets too! Many sweets contain xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs. Early symptoms of xylitol poisoning include lethargy, vomiting and loss of coordination and can lead to seizures. Xylitol poisoning can be fatal for dogs so call us immediately if you suspect your dog has gotten hold of any sweets!

Reconsider costumes

Though dressing your pet up for Halloween might seem like harmless fun it can be distressing for cats and dogs. Some costumes can contain choking hazards too. Even if your pet doesn’t seem to mind wearing a costume you should keep in mind that some of these costumes can be extremely flammable so make sure they are supervised at all times.

Keep them away from activities

Constant door knocking and groups of strangers appearing at your door could be confusing and stressful for your pet. Consider keeping your pet in a separate room away from any activity, or create a den for them to hide in so that they feel safe.

Check your microchip

Make sure that all cats and dogs are microchipped in advance of Halloween as this could come in handy if your pet escapes out the front door while you’re greeting trick-or-treaters. Cats are more likely to become easily spooked and may flee from a situation if they feel anxious – ensuring their microchip details are up to date could help you to be reunited should the worst happen.

Keep them indoors

Keeping dogs in the garden on Halloween is not recommended. They could still be distressed by groups of people dressed in costumes and they are at risk of being targeted by ‘pranksters’ who may not be considerate of your dog’s welfare. For the same reasons, we recommend keeping cats indoors too.

Glow sticks

Glow sticks contain chemicals which can irritate your pet’s mouth. Though the effects of any consumption can look quite shocking - drooling, foaming at the mouth and vomiting – these tend not to cause a deal of long-term damage. We recommend you call us if you’re worried your pet might have eaten any of these chemicals.

Beware of pumpkins

For many, Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a carved pumpkin lit from within by a candle. However, make sure that your place your pumpkin high enough that your pet can’t accidentally knock it over and cause a fire or any burns. You should throw your pumpkin away before it gets mouldy as some mould can contain dangerous mycotoxins.

Create a safe space for your pet

Consider creating a safe and cosy space for cats to retreat to when things get too noisy, and keep your dog in a cosy quiet area of the house away from knocking visitors at the front door. Consider walking your dog in daylight hours (we know, there aren’t that many of them at this time of year!) to avoid large crowds of trick-or-treaters. You could also put a sign up in your window asking people not to knock at your house – you can find some templates here

Key takeaways-

- Make sure your pet's microchip details are up to date - Create a safe and quiet space for them to retreat to - Don’t share your sugary treats! - Watch out for potential fire hazards in costumes and pumpkins

If you have any reason to believe your pet might have eaten something toxic call us straight away.