Halloween and Pet Safety With Dr. Kwane Stewart

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Kwane Stewart, D.V.M
Chief Veterinary Officer
National Director No Animals Were Harmed® Program
American Humane Association

According to Dr. Kwane:

Pets and Halloween:

  1. Candy to Beware Of – Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic, but there’s one other very common Halloween treat to watch out for.

Chocolate: It’s toxic to dogs and cats because of a substance called Theobromine and caffeine.  It’s found in cocoa and all chocolates, though it’s in substantially higher quantities in dark chocolate (or baker’s chocolate) vs. milk chocolate. For dark chocolate as little as 2 ounces ingested by a 20 pound dog can be lethal.

Xylitol: This is compound that few know about, but is highly toxic to dogs and cats. It’s a low calorie sweetener typically found in gum and some candies. When ingested it can cause a dangerously low drop in blood sugar, know as hypoglycemia, leading to seizures.


  1. Safety – It’s usually wise to keep pets inside the house and away from the activity of the front door. During Halloween we will see an increase in lost pets and dog bites. The noise, the constant door bell ringing and strangers around the home creates stress for some pets that lead them to act out of character or run away.

Also, it’s recommended that your cat(s) are always brought inside, especially black cats. Unfortunately, they are still targets of pranks and abuse. Make sure all pets have proper identification – a current I.D. tag on their collar, a microchip and/or a GPS device (offered by Whistle).

  1. Costumes – While it’s fun to dress up our pets, costumes aren’t for every dog and cat. Some can experience a great deal of stress or actually chew up and consume parts of it.  Make sure they feel comfortable in their costume and everything fits properly.

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