STOUFFVILLE, Ontario, Oct. 30, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As ghosts and goblins head out trick-or-treating this Halloween, the Ontario SPCA wants to remind pet owners to take precautions to keep their four-legged family members safe.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

Don’t let sweet treats sour the night

Halloween candy can be dangerous for pets, so keep it out of Fido’s reach. Chocolate is particularly poisonous, but raw sugar, or sugar substitutes like xylitol, can also cause health problems. Candy wrappers are equally dangerous. Not only could those wrappers lead to choking or even an intestinal blockage, many plastic wrappers are made with petroleum by-products, which are not good for pets.

Dress for success

Pet owners thinking of dressing up their pets for Halloween should first test how their animal will react by clipping something like a bath towel over their back. When introducing the costume, set the tone that this will be a good experience by taking it slow, and offering lots of treats. It’s also important to ensure the costume doesn’t cause the animal distress and doesn’t interfere with normal restraints, like a halter, collar, or vest.

With children running around in masks or long costumes, pet owners also need to be aware of where their pets are so they don’t trample their feet, tails or paws.

Pick pet-safe décor

Be aware of Halloween decorations that could be a danger to your pets. Seasonal décor such as corn stocks or dried gourds can cause digestive problems if ingested, potentially leading to blockages requiring surgery. If candles are part of your décor, avoid placing them where pets can knock them over.

To trick or treat or hold down the fort?

When considering whether to bring your pet outside on Halloween, think about how the pet normally reacts with strangers. Remember that it will be dark, with more strangers around, many of whom will be dressed in costumes. If in doubt of how your pet will react, consider leaving them at home and taking a family photo at the end of the evening once the excitement has died down.

Some animals also find it stressful at home with so many people coming to the door trick or treating. Consider relocating them to a quiet room and leave a radio turned on low to distract them from the noise of visitors.

“Halloween can be a confusing and stressful time for many animals, which is why it’s so important to take the necessary precautions to keep your pets safe,” says Tonya Martin, Director, Animal Centres & Humane Programming. “We want to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”

For more safety tips, visit

Ontario SPCA and Humane Society:

Protecting animals since 1873, the Ontario SPCA is Ontario's animal welfare organization. A registered charity, the Society is comprised of close to 50 Communities.

Since 1919, when Ontario's first animal welfare legislation was proclaimed, the Ontario SPCA, with the help of its Communities, has been entrusted to maintain and enforce animal welfare legislation. The Act provides Ontario SPCA agents and inspectors with police powers to do so.

The Ontario SPCA provides leadership in animal welfare innovations, including introducing high-volume spay/neuter services to Ontario and opening the Provincial Education & Animal Centre.

Adopt • Learn • Volunteer • Donate

Charitable Business Number 88969 1044 RR0002


Melissa Kosowan
Ontario SPCA