Halloween Eve is upon us and while Halloween can be a time for a trick or treat, it can be especially “tricky” keeping your pets away from the “treats” as well as the many other “hidden dangers” which face pet owners on this special night.
One of the most common Halloween emergenices I have so often treated pets for, has been Chocolate toxicity. Chocolate can be one of the most poisonous candies a pet can be exposed to, as chocolate contains a both caffeine and a substance called Theobromine, which when ingested in large amounts can cause diarrhea, vomiting, agitation, an elevated and irregular heart rate, and even seizures at high doses. The darker chocolates contain far more Theobromine and Caffeine, so be sure to read the label of the candy your pet may have ingested .
Toxicity guidelines are as follows:
Milk Chocolate: Mild signs of toxicity can be seen when a pet ingests .7 ounces of chocolate per pound o body weight. Severe signs can be seen when greater than 2 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate: Pets ingesting .3 ounces per pound of body weight will show mild signs of toxicity, whereas severe toxicity occurs at one ounce of chocolate is consumed per pound of body weight.
Baking chocolate: This type of chocolate by far contains the highest concentration of caffeine and Theobromine and is the one of most concern As little as .1 ounce per pound of body weight is toxic to your pet.
So this Halloween, be SMART and PROACTIVE. KEEP YOUR CHOCOLATE SAFE AND SECURE AND AWAY FROM YOUR PETS.
A second common Halloween emergency for pets is Xylitol toxicity. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol so often used in many candies and chewing gums.
Xylitol, if ingested in more than .1 gram per 2.2 pounds of body weight , can cause a very rapid drop in your pet’s blood sugar, causing lack of coordination, vomiting, lethargy, depression, seizures and even liver failure. If you suspect your pet has ingested Xylitol and/or is exhibiting any of these signs, call your veterinarian immediately, as simple blood tests checking blood sugar and liver enyzmes can determine exposure
Pumpkins can also pose an unexpected danger to pets! Not only can the left over core of the pumpkin and seeds cause intestinal upset or even blockage, but those wonderful candles we put in them when we are done carving them can pose a danger to the unknowing, more curious pets as they can easily catch on fire, as well as tip the pumpkin over and start a fire!
Keep your pumpkins far from your pets!
Halloween in general, can be scary for pets. There are many people knocking on your door, walking on your lawn and in your surroundings, which for some pets can pose a threat. I have seen unexpected aggression in some pets who do not recognize the children in their costumes and will bite out of fear, as well as pets who escape thru the front door! And certainly, Halloween is not one of those nights you want to be searching for a lost pet in the dark.
Please keep your pet safe, either in a secure crate or a room, so they are not a danger to visitors or to themselves . Also, this is a good time to be sure your annual microchip registration is updated, and your pet has proper Identification tags , so if the unforeseen escape happens, your pet can be easily identified and returned!
For the creative owner, Halloween can be a fun time to dress your pet up in costumes!
Though this may be fun for the owner, it often is dangerous to the pets . Be sure the costumes do not block eyesight, are not restrictive in any way, and have nothing dangling that your pet could chew off and ingest! Also, put the costume on before Halloween eve, so as to allow your pet to become accustomed to the new attire, and to predict his or hers reaction and avoid a potential disaster later!
Hopefully , these few tips, will help pet owners avoid potential veterinary emergencies on this fun night and the treats will be abundant for the trick or treaters and not the pets!