Common Fall Pet Safety Hazards

Whether you look forward to the transition from summer to fall or dread it, it’s essential to consider the fall and Halloween pet safety hazards that your furry family member might run into during this time. Halloween can be especially risky for our four-legged friends, who do not understand the dangers of an open bag of candy or a shiny candy wrapper.

Here are some of the most notable safety hazards from our animal hospital that pets face this time of year:

More Extreme Weather

Yep, it’s getting colder outside, and while there is no stopping Mother Nature, you can make it more comfortable for your pet.

  • Don’t leave your pet outside unattended for too long—especially if it’s damp as well as cold outside.
  • Consider getting a waterproof jacket or sweater that your pet can wear for walks.
  • If your dog is the more outdoorsy type, make sure they have a shelter outside that is elevated off the ground and able to keep your pet both warm and dry. Also be sure that they have access to fresh water and food if they need it.

Halloween Treats

Chocolate and grapes/raisins should always be kept away from pets, but there is another food ingredient that can be especially dangerous. Many sugar-free candies, cookies, and other goodies contain xylitol, a sugar alcohol that pets cannot properly metabolize. Consuming anything with xylitol can be life-threatening for your pet, so keep the sweets well out of their reach at all times.

Additionally, candies can pose a choking hazard, along with candy wrappers and leftover sticks from lollipops. Anything that is sweet and meant for human consumption only should be disposed of or stored in a secure place.

If you think your pet may have eaten any candy, especially candy containing xylitol, contact us or reach out to the Pet Poison Helpline right away at (855) 764-7661.

Fall & Halloween Pet Safety in Newport News: Black Cat Dressed Up for Halloween as a Pumpkin Standing Next to a Pumpkin

Costumes and Decorations

Decorations can pose a variety of hazards to pets. This includes small, detachable parts that can cause choking, internal injury, or bowel obstruction if swallowed. And while candles are a great way to make your home look festive, whether you use them for jack-o’-lanterns or as a centerpiece on the table, they can easily become a fire hazard if your pet accidentally knocks into or brushes against them. We would recommend using electric lights in place of candles whenever possible.

In addition to human costumes that may come with small parts your pet can easily choke on, pet costumes may also come with detachable pieces that your pet can chew on and potentially swallow. Furthermore, some pets are not comfortable in costume—be they cats or dogs. Sometimes, it’s better to celebrate the holidays without putting your pet in a costume.


The constant calling of trick-or-treaters and the repeated opening and closing of the front door can put pets on edge. In extreme cases, stressed-out pets may even try to escape! To manage your pet’s anxiety, consult with us to see how their stress can be reduced in a healthy way. It also might be best to keep your pet situated in a closed room that includes a TV or radio, their bed/blanket, fresh water, and their food or treats. If your pet is crate trained, we recommend placing them in their crate or carrier while trick or treaters pay their visit. The most important thing is to help your pet feel as comfortable and safe as possible.