Halloween is just around the corner and I know a lot of us will start the celebrations this week. Tomorrow I will be taking my dog to a special Halloween event at Pussy & Pooch and I know they will have treats appropriate for him, but that is not always the case when you go to a Halloween event or take your pooch to one. Below are a few tips published by Mydogmagazine.com on what to do if your dog gets into your treats instead of theirs.
Halloween is a time for everyone to have fun, feel like a kid, and eat a little extra candy. Most dogs will eat anything, and chocolate candy is no exception. The difference is, chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and if they eat enough of it, it can kill them.
Methylxanthines—the chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous—are similar to caffeine and appear in higher concentrations the darker the chocolate. Just 2-3 ounces of baker's chocolate can make a 50 pound dog very ill.
What happens when dogs eat chocolate? The chemical toxicity results in vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, inflammation of the pancreas, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and sometimes, even death. In smaller dogs, even the wrappers from candy can result in a secondary obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Remember, it's the dose that makes the poison. Dogs that ingest a few M&Ms or 1-2 bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning, but smaller dogs are more sensitive than larger ones.
Common sense tells you to keep your Halloween goodies out of the reach of pets, but sometimes accidents happen. The Pet Poison Helpline reported that in 2010, the number of calls of dogs having ingested chocolate during the week of Halloween increased 209% over a typical week. Signs of mild chocolate poisoning can include vomiting and diarrhoea. Larger ingestions can cause severe agitation, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and collapse.
Raisins, sometimes appearing in Halloween sweets/candy or just handed out instead of candy, are also extremely poisonous to dogs and can cause kidney failure. If your dog has eaten any amount of raisins, grapes, or currants, you should treat it as a potentially toxic situation and immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline. The poison in raisins is more concentrated than in grapes, so no amount of raisins is too small for you to make a phone call.
In addition, if your dog gets into your treat stash and gobbles it down, consult your veterinarian even if it wasn't chocolate. Large amounts of high sugar, high fat sugary food is bad for your dog's system and can result in pancreatitis. Signs include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially kidney failure. Be sure to consult your veterinarian immediately if any of these signs occur. The Pet Poison Helpline is available at 1.800.213.6680 or www.petpoisonhelpline.com (for United States only).
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) is the only statewide professional organization of over 2,200 veterinarians from across the Commonwealth. The association, which was established in 1883, strives to advance animal welfare and human health while ensuring the vitality of the veterinary profession. PVMA's website is available at www.pavma.org .
Always keep your vet's emergency number on hand should your dog ever gobble down licit food.
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