The arrival of Halloween brings fun parties, trick-or-treaters, and lots of delicious candies. However, some of the same goodies and decorations we humans are fond of can be potentially hazardous to our pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is offering pet owners some helpful hints to keep their pets healthy and safe during Halloween. Halloween treats with chocolate are not appropriate for pets. Depending on the dose ingested, chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk and dark) can be potentially poisonous to many animals. In general, the less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it could be. In fact, unsweetened baking chocolate contains almost seven times more theobromine as milk chocolate. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog.
Candies and gum containing large amounts of the sweetener xylitol can also be toxic to pets, as ingestions of significant quantities can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures. Be sure to keep such products well out of the reach of your pets.
Keep aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers away from pets. They can cause vomiting and could even produce intestinal blockage.
Keep your pet on its normal diet. Any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements.
Never offer or allow your pets to access alcoholic beverages. Place unattended drinks where pets cannot reach them. If ingested, the animal could become very ill and weak and may go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
Halloween decorative plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively non-toxic, yet they can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset and may even result in intestinal blockage as well if large pieces are ingested.
Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of the reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to its mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
Liquid potpourri, commonly used to add pleasant scent to the home during certain holidays, can be hazardous to pets. Potentially severe damage to the mouth, skin and eyes could result from exposure to both heated and cool liquid product.
If you suspect your pet may have become exposed to a potentially toxic product or substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately for assistance.
About the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
Since 1978, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has been the premier animal poison control center in North America. The center, an allied agency of the University of Illinois, is the only facility of its kind staffed by 25 veterinarians including 9 board-certified toxicologists and 14 certified veterinary technicians. Located in Urbana, Ill., the specially trained staff provides assistance to pet owners and specific analysis and treatment recommendations to veterinarians pertaining to toxic chemicals and dangerous plants, products or substances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 2005, the center handled more than 100,000 cases. In addition, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides extensive veterinary toxicology consulting on a wide array of subjects including legal cases, formulation issues, product liability, regulatory reporting and bio surveillance. To reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, call 1-888-426-4435. For more information on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center visit www.aspca.org/apcc .
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first humane organization established in the western hemisphere and today has one million supporters. The ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA provides national leadership in humane education, government affairs and public policy, shelter support, and animal poison control. The NYC headquarters houses a full-service animal hospital, animal behavior center, and adoption facility. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York's animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series Animal Precinct on Animal Planet. Visit http://www.aspca.org/ for more information.