Ghosts, witches, black cats and … candy corn? There’s plenty for pet parents to fear during the spookiest holiday of the year.
Keeping your canine companions — and their sensitive stomachs — safe from Halloween treats doesn’t have to be tricky. But you do need to be aware of the potential hazards lurking in trick-or-treat bags.
Here are five food-related Halloween hazards to watch for, courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline and Pet Health Network.
Most dog owners are well aware that chocolate and dogs don’t mix — unless their dogs are chocolate Labrador retrievers. The delectable confection is one of the most toxic, although appealing, to dogs. You can check out here why so many dog parents are spooked when they find their furry friend has gobbled up all of the Halloween chocolates.
2. Sugarless treats
Another danger lurking in your kid’s Halloween stash is sugar-free gum and candy. Certain brands of gums, mints, candies and baked goods contain large amounts of xylitol, a natural sugar-free sweetener. While xylitol is great for protecting our teeth from cavities (which is why it’s found in some toothpastes), it can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and even liver damage if enough is ingested by a dog.
You probably have at least one health-conscious neighbor who gives out wholesome snacks, such as mini-boxes of raisins, instead of candy on Halloween. Unfortunately, even very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs and, potentially, cats. Chocolate-covered raisins present a double threat: one from chocolate and one from raisins. Signs of a problem related to eating raisins may not appear until several days later, so if you see or suspect your dog has consumed any raisins (even if it’s just one!), contact your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately.
4. Candy corn and other super-sugary sweets
Some traditional high-sugar candies that are popular at Halloween won’t produce life-threatening illness like chocolate, xylitol and raisins. But when consumed in large amounts, the sugary treats can still upset a dog’s stomach, triggering vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Remember, too, that many dogs will gorge or binge on Halloween candy if allowed, consuming much more than an adult human would in a single sitting. And if your dog has a sensitive stomach, even one or two different treats may be enough to upset his or her stomach.
Rich foods including sugary and high-fat candy can also lead to pancreatitis in dogs, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis takes time to develop and may not show up until two to four days after your dog’s candy binge.
5. Candy wrappers
The candy inside isn’t the only threat posed by Halloween goodies. Most pets don’t bother to remove the wrappers from candy before indulging. Foil, cellophane and plastic wrappers, as well as cardboard boxes, can cause life-threatening bowel obstructions that may require surgery to correct if enough are consumed.
To keep your dogs safe this Halloween, you don’t have to ban trick-or-treating at your home. But you do want to keep Halloween treats in a safe, secure place that your dogs can’t reach. It’s the best way to avoid a costly and stressful trip to the veterinary clinic or emergency veterinary hospital.
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