Sorting out and taking stock of the night’s haul is always one of the best parts of Halloween for any kid. However, in all the excitement of divvying up Snickers and M&M’s on the living room floor, it can be easy to forget our four-legged friends who are lurking in the background, ready to snag a taste at the first opportunity.
Each year, the Pet Poison Helpline sees an increase in calls related to Halloween candy and pets. Animals don’t metabolize sweets the same way humans do, and certain types of candy pose a serious risk to their health. Make your pet’s health and safety a top priority with the following tips from Paws, Purrs, and Exotics Animal Hospital.
Chocolate poses one of the biggest dangers to pets, especially for dogs, as they tend to be drawn to the aroma more often than other animals. Caffeine and a compound called theobromine, both present in chocolate, are very difficult for pets to metabolize and can lead to poisoning (even in small amounts). As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. Milk chocolate contains up to 60mg per ounce, and unsweetened baker’s chocolate contains up to 450mg of theobromine per ounce(!).
The symptoms of chocolate toxicity can vary depending on the type of chocolate, how much was ingested, and the size of your pet. Common signs include:
- Excessive panting
- Loss of consciousness
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s become more popular in recent years. It’s commonly found in sugar-free products, including gum and candy. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, and even a small amount can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, kidney failure, or even death. Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, loss of coordination, lethargy, depression, seizure, and coma.
“Raisin” the Risk Level
While parents may be happy to find the occasional box of raisins in their child’s trick-or-treat bag, this healthy snack is also potentially toxic to both dogs and cats. Chocolate covered raisins are a double-whammy of danger.
Even if you’re certain there are no tricks in your kid’s bag of treats, Halloween candy and pets are still a bad combination. Too much candy can cause gastrointestinal distress in pets, and large amounts of sugary, fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammatory condition.
Halloween Candy and Pets
If you know or suspect your pet has gotten into your Halloween stash, please contact us immediately. Your pet’s health is always our number one priority!