Halloween is fast approaching and with it comes a large amount of chocolate, other candy, and costumes. One of the more terrifying things about all the candy that will appear around this time is the potential for dogs to consume some of the sugary treats. And for the dogs, the terrifying thing about Halloween can be the costumes! I know that Rooster doesn’t particularly like any costumes and always tried to get subtly push off anything I put on his head.

Like you might already know, chocolate isn’t great for dogs. In fact, the treat can actually result in illness and/or death for our four-legged friends. How your dog will react to chocolate depends on their size, how much they ate, and what kind of chocolate. A tiny dog will react differently to the same kind and amount of chocolate than a big dog. And in general, dogs will react more severely to darker, less sweet chocolate.

The best way to deal with this is to try and prevent your animals from reaching any sort of Halloween candy. Have it out of reach on tall counters or in cabinets they can’t open. There’s also the option of training your dog the command “leave it”, something that could also be helpful on numerous other occasions as well.

However, sometimes things happen and pets can get into the Halloween candy. The level of severity will depend on how much they ate and their size but if you’re worried that your dog got into a sizeable amount, you should call your vet or go to the local emergency vet. There are a few symptoms that dogs exhibit after eating chocolate but they can take 6-12 hours to show up. Be on the look out for: extreme thirst, diarrhea, too energetic, pacing, panting, shaking, and/or seizures. And in some extreme cases, these symptoms can last up to 72 hours.

For more information about this topic, including the chocolate that’s most toxic for dogs:

And if you are planning to dress your dog, cat, or other animal up for Halloween, there are a couple things to just keep in mind. The ASPCA actually warns against putting a costume on your pet unless you know they love it, as costumes can stress an animal out and cause other behavioral problems. Try the costume on before Halloween to see that they both fit (a big must) and that the animal is okay with it, as an ill fit costume or unfamiliar thing plus large crowds of trick or treaters might be too much for an animal!

And if possible, make sure that your pet has all five senses while wearing the costume. I, for example, won’t be putting an eye patch on Rooster’s one good eye because that would obviously completely shut down his sight. In more general terms, having any sense cut off because of a costume can be stressful for an animal.

Lastly, make sure that there’s no small pieces or choking hazards and that they have their IDs. I know so many dogs that love to chew on things and swallowing something from a costume is not a fun way to spend Halloween, for you or the animal! And it can be tempting to take the collar off to better suit the costume but like the 4th of July, Halloween can be stressful and one reaction a dog might have is to run off.

This all was a lot of information to keep in mind about animals and Halloween but I always think it’s better to be a bit prepared! This holiday is often a lot of fun and can be more fun if everyone is happy and healthy. If your animal doesn’t like costumes (I already know Rooster doesn’t like them), there’s always the option of a festive bandana! There are many local artists that sell Halloween related dog bandanas and there are ways to make one from fabric as well! That way, they can still join in on the festivities and be comfortable.