The horror of D&V – don’t get caught out this Halloween!

Never mind ghosts and witches, this Halloween, we’re scared of things going ‘trump’ in the night!

6th October 2023

Never mind ghosts and witches, this Halloween, we’re scared of things going ‘trump’ in the night!

Diarrhoea and vomiting in pets can be stressful at all times of the year, though, thanks to all the tricks and treats around Halloween, it’s something that can happen more often during autumn months.

As well as being a time for spooky surprises and carving pumpkins, tempting Halloween treats can trick pets into eating them, which could cause gastrointestinal problems.

Foods to avoid

Eating something they shouldn’t is one of the main causes of unpleasant poos   and vomiting in pets. 

So, when there are sweets and treats everywhere during Halloween, it’s important to keep toxic food away from our best fur-iends.


If your pet eats chocolate, there could be fatal consequences. This is because it contains a chemical called 'theobromine', which is toxic to cats and dogs. 

Sweets (xylitol)

Xylitol is a type of sweetener used in many food products, including sweets, and it’s highly toxic for pets.


While it may be great for keeping vampires away, garlic is toxic to both cats and dogs.

To find out more about treats pets can’t eat, visit our blog about toxic food for pets.

Symptoms to look out for if your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Tremors (shaking or trembling)
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy (being much quieter than usual).

Keep them safe from dropped sweets on dark walks

On a crisp, dark, Halloween night, it’s likely trick or treaters will be given a fright! 
But, while trick or treaters are enjoying the thrills of Halloween fun, they may spill sweets without realising what they’ve done.

While walking your canine companion, watch where they’re stepping and don’t let them sneak any snacks on their travels.

Keep any loot out of reach

Should your kids (or yourself, we don’t judge!) have been successful in trick or treating, there’s probably plenty of loot lying around.

In the chaos of costume parties and horror film marathons, it’s all too easy to leave tempting treats within reach of curious cats or sweet-hunting hounds.  

To protect your pet from diarrhoea and vomiting, it’s essential that human food, sweets, chocolate, and any other potentially poisonous products are kept out of their reach.

Clean up any choking hazards

It’s witch-ful thinking to assume our pets will avoid all choking hazards during Halloween. Swallowing something they shouldn’t can be very dangerous and runs the risk of causing vomiting in pets – or much worse! 

So, it’s vital that any potentially pet-harming products are kept out of wandering paws’ reach.

Some examples of pet choking hazards:

  • Lollipop sticks.
  • Chocolate/sweet wrappers.
  • Halloween decorations.
  • Small toys.
  • Costume accessories.
  • Food containers.
  • Boiled (hard) sweets.

If your pet is choking, you’ll need to act quickly. Please contact your vet the instant you notice your pet showing any of the following signs:

  • Trying to vomit but not bringing anything up.
  • Coughing or choking.
  • Pawing at their mouth.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Blue lips or tongue.

Discover our first aid advice for what to do if your dog is choking, while waiting to get your pet to a vet.

When to get help

Halloween should be a time for fun and games, but if your pet is suffering from diarrhoea and/or sickness, you’ll need to know when it’s time to call a vet.
Call a vet if your pet has diarrhoea and is:

  • Vomiting.
  • Looking unwell.
  • Bloated.
  • In pain.
  • Extremely tired.

Contact a vet if your pet is vomiting and has:

  • Been sick a lot.
  • Had vomiting and/or diarrhoea for more than 24 hours.
  • Black dots (that look like coffee granules) in their vomit.
  • Gagged or retched without bringing anything up.
  • Pain.
  • Bloating.
  • No interest in playing or interacting.

Did you know? Joii can successfully resolve 85% of diarrhoea and 76% of vomiting queries and concerns online*! Not only that, their vet and pet care services are FREE to use for all Animal Friends dog and cat customers.

Trick or treat for your pet

Our pets deserve to have a fang-tastic Halloween, too!

Luckily, there are ways your pet can get involved in the fright-night fun, without ending up with a case of the runs…

Here are some ideas for Halloween-themed, pet-friendly activities:

For dogs…

  • Halloween hunt – hide your pooch’s favourite treats around the house, then send them to sniff them out .
  • Trick to treat – have your best fur-iend perform a favourite or new trick for a dog-friendly treat!
  • Bobbing for Kongs (instead of apples) – fill a shallow washing-up bowl with fresh, clean, drinking water and plop a Kong toy (or two) or ball in for your dog to fish out.  

For cats…

  • Halloween hide ‘n’ seek – depending on their preference (whether they love you or treats more!), either hide yourself or cat-friendly treats around the house and have your cat go hunting for you/the treats.
  • Trick to treat – clever cats enjoy learning, so, why not use plenty of praise and treats (possibly patience, too!) to teach them a trick?
  • Catch the ghost – use a Halloween-themed cat teaser to awaken your feline friend’s natural hunting instincts.

Whatever you do this scary season, make it safe yet spook-tacular, for humans and pets alike, by avoiding the horrors of diarrhoea and vomiting. 

Animal Friends cat and dog customers get free 24/7 vet video consultations through the Joii app, meaning owners can get common conditions identified quickly and get immediate, qualified advice on what to do next.

Have a happy Howl-oween!

*Source: Joii Pet Care data as of August 2023.