Halloween Dangers

3 min read
Jan 26, 2022

Dogs and cats can get in trouble eating trick or treat offerings, exploring decorations, and fleeing from ghouls.

Beware of the following treats that can turn your Halloween into a real-life nightmare:

Diet Treats

It may seem like a nice health-conscious idea to offer sugar-free candy, gum and cookies flavored with Xylitol, but don't. And be sure to check your child's bag for such treats and make sure they're out of your pets' reach. Xylitol can cause a radical drop in blood pressure, liver damage and death, and it doesn't take that much. A 22-pound dog that eats just one gram of Xylitol needs veterinary treatment. Its effects in cats have not been reported, but don't be the one to find out.


Chocolate, especially dark and baker's chocolate, contains theobromine. Theobromine has a small stimulant effect on humans, but a huge one on dogs, causing shaking, seizures, increased heart rate and death. Milk chocolate has approximately 44 mg of theobromine per ounce, semisweet chocolate about 150 mg per ounce, and baker's chocolate about 390 mg per ounce. A lethal dose for dogs is considered about 50 to 100 mg per pound; cats are even more sensitive, but tend to have less of a taste for chocolate.

Raisins and Grapes

Some dogs appear to be able to eat raisins and grapes with no ill effects, but in other dogs, they can cause kidney failure and death. The reason isn't understood, but as little as 0.3 ounces of grapes per pound and 0.05 ounces of raisins per pound have caused kidney failure. In other words, a 50-pound dog could be poisoned by eating two ounces of raisins. A few cases have been reported in cats, probably becausecats aren't big grape and raisin eaters. 

Macadamia Nuts

You probably won't get too many of these in the treat bag, but you never know, and if you do, you don't want your pet eating them. They've been known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, hind-leg weakness and temporary paralysis. No reports of macadamia poisoning with cats exist. 


You spend enough on your pet without feeding him money, but pennies can be the most expensive money he eats. Some people give out coins instead of candy, and some dogs will eat anything. The problem with eating pennies is that they are made of 99 percent zinc, and when the penny sits in the dog's stomach, the zinc is dissolved and enters the bloodstream, where it causes severe anemia and kidney problems.

Foil Wraps

Those shiny wraps around some candies can cause intestinal problems, and are particularly dangerous to birds, which may be attracted to them.

Scary Visitors

Nobody told your pet that those costumes are all in good fun. He could be frightened and try to flee, or if he's the protective canine type, he could bite trick-or-treaters. It's best to keep him in a secure room away from the door during peak hours.

Jack O'Lanterns and Candle

Flames can burn your curious pet or containers could be knocked over, starting a fire. Birds are especially endangered by Jack O'Lanterns that they can fly into, and perhaps get stuck inside.

Electrical Cords

Those cords snaking all over the place to power all those special effects can be tempting to chew. And then zap! Keep them out of pets' reach!

Artificial Spider Webs

What sense does it make to clean your house and then hang spider webs all over the place? If you have birds they can become entangled in them or even eat them, causing intestinal problems. Just leave the real ones up.

Polyurethane Glue

Often used when making homemade decorations, dogs in particular have been known to eat it. Once in the stomach, it absorbs moisture and expands into a huge rock-like mass that may need to be removed surgically.


It's fun to dress up your pet in his very own costume, but don't let him wear it unsupervised. Chances are he's not thrilled with your fashion statement, and he can knock things over trying to rub it off, or he could get tangled in it or eat it, in some cases choking. Be sure no rubber bands are left on him when the outfit comes off. Birds should not be part of your pirate costume, either. It's too easy for them to get frightened and injured.

Sinister Humans

Bad people pose the most frightening threat of all. In the weeks before Halloween, some steal animals, particularly black cats.. Take special precautions to safeguard your pet from thieves during this time. And while you should never let your pet roam, you should particularly not let him roam on Halloween.

Consider Investing in Pet Insurance 

Looking for more ways to keep your pets happy and healthy? Consider investing in a pet insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Our dog insurance and cat insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family members deserve.  Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.