Halloween Dangers

During the week of Halloween, calls to the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline increase, making it the call center’s busiest time of year.

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

The four most common food related Halloween hazards for pets are chocolate, candy overindulgence, raisins and candy wrappers.


Of all candy chocolate is one of the most toxic to dogs.  Many dogs are inherently attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate, making it a significant threat. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. The chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous to dogs, methylxanthines, are similar to caffeine and more heavily concentrated in the darker varieties. In fact, a 50 pound dog can be sickened by ingesting only one ounce of chocolate! To avoid issues, keep Halloween candy well out of the reach of dogs at all times. If you think your dog may have ingested chocolate, symptoms to watch out for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures.


Pets are indiscriminate when it comes to eating tasty treats and can gorge themselves on snacks and food meant for humans. Large amounts 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.

Grapes & Raisins

Some people prefer to distribute healthy snacks instead of candy on Halloween, such as mini boxes of raisins. These are extremely poisonous to dogs! Very small amounts of raisins and/or grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. When it comes to your dogs, raisins deserve the same pet proofing treatment as chocolate – stored in secure containers far from their reach. Unfortunately, some dogs develop idiosyncratic reactions at any dose – in other words, they can ingest any amount and potentially be poisoned. Therefore, any ingestion of raisins or grapes should be treated as a “poisoning” case. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Candy Wrappers

Generally when pets eat candy, they don’t bother to remove the wrappers. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers can cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction, which if severe, can require surgical intervention to correct. Watch for vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy. X-rays may be necessary to diagnose this problem.


Pets look cute dressed in costumes, but they might not enjoy it as much as their owners. If you dress your pet in a costume, be sure it doesn’t impair his vision, movement or air intake. If the costume contains metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces, be aware that if ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. Also, don’t be tempted to dye or apply coloring to your pet’s fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic to humans, it could still be harmful to pets.

During this Halloween season, help keep your dog safe. If you think they may have ingested something poisonous, the Pet Poison Helpline suggest that you get help sooner than later. It’s always easier, less expensive, and safer for your pet to be treated earlier, versus when they are showing severe symptoms. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at (855) 764-7661.

Dog Friendly Recipes



  • 2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 15 tablespoons (just under 1 cup) plain yogurt


Puree watermelon chunks until smooth. 

Add 1 tablespoon of yogurt to each space in your mold or ice cube tray and then fill the rest of the way with watermelon puree. Freeze until solid, about 4 hours

Remove treats from mold and store in an air-tight container in the freezer.

Sweet Potato Chews


  • 3 sweet pototes

(Yup, that's it!)


Slice sweet potato into 1/3" thick slices.  Too thin and you end up with chips and too thick they will take forever to cook.

(I learned both of these the hard way!)

Lay them on a parchment paper lined cookie tray and pop them in the oven on at 200 degrees.

Bake for about 5-6 hours depending on how thick you slice them and your oven, flipping them 1/2 way through.

At the 6 hour mark turn off the oven and leave the potatoes inside while the oven cools. This helps to further dehydrate them.

Store in a air tight container for up to two weeks.

Pumpkin Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tbs flax seed
  • 2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not the spiced kind used for pies)
  • 1/4 cup cold water or enough to make the dough stick


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine brown rice flour and flax meal in a large bowl. Mix eggs and pumpkin together in a separate bowl until smooth. Add half of the pumpkin mixture to the brown rice mixture, stir, then add the rest and stir again. Add water slowly, as needed. Use your hands to knead the dough together.

Roll dough out between two pieces of waxed to desired thickness (about 1/4"). Remove top piece of paper, flip dough onto a counter coated with flour, remove wax paper, then cut biscuits using a knife or cookie cutter. Re-roll and cut scraps until you’ve used every possible bit of dough.

Place biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheets (or sheets lightly greased with oil). Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until the top of the biscuit has dried out completely. Let biscuits cool then store in an airtight container.

(Makes 36 large dog biscuits