Halloween Tricks, not Treats!

It’s that time of year again! While most of us look forward to the variety of goodies that are available this time of year, it is can also be a dangerous time for our pets. During the time around Halloween, calls to veterinarians and pet poison hotlines increase dramatically. Most of the calls are because a dog has eaten some Halloween candy, usually chocolate, but can also include other things like cookies or other baked goods, sugar free gum, and raisins. Chocolate is one of the most toxic to pets but other candies, especially those that contain artificial sugars/sweeteners can be life threatening as well. Just one ounce of baking chocolate can make a 50-60 pound dog sick! Dogs usually enjoy the taste and smell of chocolate as much as people do so be sure to keep that candy out of reach of your pets. In addition to chocolate, artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, can sicken a pet. Most of the xylitol toxicities are due to dogs ingesting sugar free gum so if you happen to get any sugar free gum while out trick-or-treating, be sure to keep it away from the family dog.
It’s not just candy that can cause a pet to become sick. Raisins are often given out to trick-or-treaters as a healthy alternative to candy. Raisins (and grapes) are particularly toxic to pets. Only small amounts of raisins are needed to sicken a pet. It takes just a small box of raisins to cause a dog’s kidneys to fail. Make sure raisins are kept out of reach of all family pets.
It isn’t just certain ingredients that are toxic to animals that can cause problems. Candy wrappers, small decorations, toys, glow sticks, and just plain overindulgence, can cause a dog or cat to become ill. Dogs are pretty indiscriminate when enjoying holiday goodies and have been known to eat wrappers, small decorations, or toys. The concern for those types of items is possible foreign body obstruction. If you feel your pet has ingested any of these and becomes ill, please call your veterinarian immediately. Additionally, if your pet should eat too much of some tasty goodies, they can become ill and get pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. Dogs can become very ill and usually have to spend a few days at the veterinary hospital.
So, while it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of Halloween and the rest of the holidays this year, please remember to keep your treats and goodies out of reach of the family pet, especially dogs and cats. If you feel your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t have, please call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 immediately.

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