Halloween Dangers

Animals on Halloween by the Best Veterinarian in Venice - Your Other Family Doctor!

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, “during the week of Halloween, calls to the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline increase by 12 percent, making it the call center’s busiest time of year. ‘Each year we experience a sharp increase in calls around Halloween, especially during the weekends surrounding the holiday,’ said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline.

“Most often, these calls involve pets accidentally ingesting Halloween candy or décor. Chocolate is one of the most problematic candies as dogs and cats cannot metabolize it as well as people. Thus, it places them at risk for poisoning.”


Chocolate is one of the most toxic substances for cats and dogs. It contains caffeine and a naturally occurring stimulant called theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats.  These substances will cause an increase in heart rate and a pet that consumes toxic amounts of chocolate will experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness.  If your pet accidentally ingests some chocolate, please call us immediately. We may have to induce vomiting using active charcoal to prevent absorption into the bloodstream.


Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Potentially fatal, pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and very painful. It may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. Symptoms include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially, kidney failure or organ damage.

Candy wrappers are also a danger. When pets get ahold of candy, they don’t remove the wrappers like we humans. Ingestion of foil and collophane wrappers can cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction, which if severe, can require surgical intervention to correct. Watch for vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straning to defecate, or lethargy. X-rays may be necessary to diagnose.

We hope this helps to increase your awareness and keep your pets safe this Halloween. If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, Venice Animal Clinic suggests getting help sooner rather than later. It’s always less expensive, easier and safer for your pet to be treated early vs. when they are showing severe symptoms. Contact us immediately at (941) 485-9605 if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous.