Oct 02

The Top 5 Dangers to Pets During Halloween

My name is Dr. Andrea Olson and I’m one of the veterinarians at The Carolinas Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic. Through our monthly blog, we’re hoping to bring you the latest news about advances in veterinary medicine, updates about what’s going on around the hospital, relevant information to help you continue to take excellent care of your pets, and, of course, photos of our adorable patients! We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect with you and our goal is to share information that matters to you. With that said, if there’s anything that you’d like to learn more about or see on the blog, please don’t be shy! You can send us feedback, suggestions, or photos at hospital@cahdc.com.

With fall in the air and Halloween just around the corner, this month we’re going to talk about how to safely celebrate the holiday with our furry family members. For many of us, Halloween is a fun chance to pass out candy to kids in the neighborhood and dress our pets up in costumes.  What we often overlook, however, are the potential dangers to our pets that may be lurking around the corner during America’s favorite spooky holiday.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of the Top 5 Dangers to Pets during Halloween:

1. Chocolate Mars-Candy

Chocolate is the most poisonous type of candy to pets because it contains methylxanthines, chemicals similar to caffeine. Typically, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to dogs.  At lower doses, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. At higher doses, dogs can develop an elevated heart rate, tremors, or even seizures.

 

2. Raisins 

Many of us remember having a well-intentioned neighbor who handed out small red boxes of raisins on Halloween instead of candy. While this might have been a healthier alternative for us as kids, raisins can be extremely toxic to some dogs. Even at very low doses, grapes and raisins can quickly cause acute kidney failure.

 

3. Glow sticks 

Glow sticksYou might be surprised to learn that glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks are one of the most common objects that dogs — and especially cats — chew on around Halloween. Glow sticks contain an oily liquid that is very bitter but not toxic; however, the bitter chemical can cause oral irritation and excessive drooling, particularly in cats. In addition to the chemical exposure, glow sticks can pose a potential choking hazard.

 

4. Sugar free gum 

Certain brands of sugar-free gum (for example, certain flavors of Trident, Stride and Orbit) contain xylitol, a sugar substitute. Xylitol ingestion in dogs can lead to profound drops in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), liver failure and bleeding problems. The toxic dose is actually quite low; a 10 lb dog could be poisoned by as little as a stick and a half of gum.

 

5. Candy wrappers  fnd-halloween-candy-bucket_s4x3_lg

Pets who get into Halloween candy may develop vomiting, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis. But beyond the candy itself, the foil and plastic wrappers could cause an intestinal obstruction if they were ingested in large quantities.

 

If your pet ingests any of these items, please call us right away.  You don’t have to leave your pet out of the fun on Halloween, but make sure you’re keeping him or her out of harm’s way. In the meantime, we’d love to see photos of your pets (safely) dressed up for Halloween! Email your photos to hospital@cahdc.com and we’ll post them on our Facebook page. And, as always, if you have any questions about this post or any concerns about your pet, don’t hesitate to call our office at (704) 588-9788. Happy Halloween!

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About the Author:

Dr. Andrea Olson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She practiced in Omaha, Nebraska, for three years before moving to Charlotte with her husband in 2014. Dr. Olson is one of CAHDC’s general practice veterinarians, with a focus on general practice dentistry. Her other professional interests include ultrasonography, internal medicine, and dermatology. In her spare time, Dr. Olson enjoys running, enjoying the outdoors and the beautiful North Carolina weather, and spending time with her husband, young daughter, and two dogs. Both Notre Dame grads, Dr. Olson and her husband are devoted Irish football fans.

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