Protecting Pets with Scare Season Safety

Nationwide Reveals Haunting Halloween Pet Dangers

Brea, Calif. (Oct. 20, 2015) - U.S. consumers spend more than $7 billion on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations during the Halloween season, exposing pets to more toxins and hazards than any other time of the year. To help prepare for the imminent dangers that surround our pets during the scare season, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, has released its 2015 Top Halloween Pet Dangers and Safety Tips

Toxic Dangers

Emergency calls to the Pet Poison Helpline increase 12 percent during the week of Halloween, making it the busiest time of the year.  Nationwide recently sorted through its database of more than 550,000 insured pets to determine the most common ingestion related claims in the month of October. Following are the top Halloween related claims and their average cost for treatment:

Claim Cost
Ingestion of Costume Parts $1,740
Raisin Toxicity $527
Chocolate Toxicity $382
Chewing Gum and Candy (Containing Xylitol) Toxicity $354
Upset Stomach/ Diarrhea $272

If a pet consumes a toxic treat or a foreign body, he or she should be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately. In preparation, pet lovers should locate the nearest 24-hour emergency animal hospital prior to the night of Halloween or any other major event.

Running Away

Halloween is the second most common holiday for pets to wander off (behind the Fourth of July) and become separated from their families. With multiple visits from friendly trick-or-treaters and constant commotion outside, Halloween night can be extremely stressful for pets. It’s best to keep pets indoors so they’re not tempted to flee from noise created by guests, sound effects, music and, of course, the doorbell. It’s important to provide pets with a safe and quiet place indoors to help them rest and cope with their holiday anxiety. Remember to keep collars with ID tags on your pets and have them microchipped just in case they wander away.

Costume Safety

U.S. pet owners spend more than $370 million on pet costumes annually, and while dressing up pets for Halloween is fun, it can be dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. If your pet does don a costume this Halloween, make sure to never leave him or her alone. Be precise with the size of the costume. Poorly fitted costumes can constrict pets and lead to panic or injury. Also take note of costumes with ribbon, strings or dangling objects that can lead to choking or strangulation. If a pet begins to itch excessively, be sure to remove the costume as allergies from fabric, detergents or fabric softeners can cause a rash.

“Halloween can be a dangerous time for pets,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, Vice President and Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Nationwide. “With an increase of toxic foods in the home and continual noise from holiday festivities, it’s important for pet owners to take the proper precautions. I encourage all pet lovers to provide their companions with a safety area and make sure that all treats are out of reach.”

Note to editors: For further information or to request Nationwide’s Halloween Pet Dangers infographic please contact Ryan Whittington at

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 550,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide, formerly known as Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers. 

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers pet insurance from Nationwide as an employee benefit.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2013); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2014). Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide Is On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2015 Nationwide. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

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