Halloween is almost here!
Soon your home will be filled with mountains of goodies from trick-or-treating and holiday parties. As a pet parent, you should be aware that there are many Halloween treats that can be dangerous for your furry friends.
Here are the Top 3 Hazardous Halloween Foods for Pets
Chocolates will probably be the large majority of your Halloween haul. It is a tasty treat for people, but, unfortunately, it’s not so good for dogs or cats. Chocolate contains substances that are harmless (and even beneficial) to people, but these substances can cause a range of unwanted side effects in your pet.
Small amounts of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and hyperactivity. Larger amounts can cause unsteadiness, rapid heart rate, panting, and high blood pressure. Too much chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, coma and death if medical treatment is not sought promptly.
Generally, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is; and the smaller the pet, the more risk for side-effects. If your 100-pound lab eats a Hershey’s kiss, there probably won’t be an issue, but if your toy poodle eats a whole bar of 85% cacao, he needs veterinary attention immediately.
Keep all your chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, and chocolate brownies as far away from your pets as possible to avoid any serious mishaps.
This artificial sweetener is becoming increasingly popular for humans, because of the sweet taste without the calories of sugar. Unfortunately, it is very dangerous to your dog.
If your dog eats xylitol, his body thinks that he has eaten sugar, and insulin is released from the pancreas. This can create a rapid decrease in blood sugar, resulting in unsteadiness, vomiting, weakness, collapse, and seizures. If the low blood sugar situation is not addressed immediately, liver damage and blood clotting problems can develop.
Although the large majority of pets who have ingested xylitol recover completely with no permanent side-effects, death can result if a very large amount is eaten. Again, the dangers of xylitol are dependent on the amount and the size of your dog. Xylitol does not appear to cause problems in cats.
Most xylitol poisoning results from the ingestion of sugar-free chewing gum, but it can also be found in other sugar-free candies, nut butters, breath mints, baked goods, nasal sprays, toothpaste, and nicotine gum. (Hopefully you don’t get nasal spray or nicotine gum in your trick-or-treat bag!) Be sure to read labels carefully, and keep these potentially deadly products away from your pooch.
3. Grapes & Raisins
Raisins are a natural healthy treat that some people give away instead of candy on Halloween. Most people think ‘natural’ foods like raisins and grapes are harmless – and they are for people. Your pet, however, could become very ill after eating them.
Grapes and raisins can be eaten by some pets with no issues at all, while kidney damage or even kidney failure can result in others. At this time, the veterinary community does not know the exact reason why this happens. The effects do not seem to be dose-dependent, which can make it hard to predict whether your dog will have a problem after eating them. There was a reported case of an 18-pound dog dying after eating just a small handful of grapes.
Early symptoms of grape ingestion include vomiting and diarrhea. This may progress to loss of appetite, abdominal pain, increased thirst, decreased urination or lack of urination, shaking, and weakness – which are all symptoms of a kidney injury. About half of the dogs who ingest a large amount of grapes die from the incident, but most of the dogs that survive recover with no long-term damage.
Your dog is most susceptible, but cats and ferrets have also become ill after eating grapes. It would be best to NEVER give your pets raisins, grapes, currants or any foods containing these ingredients. This could include cookies, cakes, other baked goods, and trail mixes.