Tuesday, 11 December 2018
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I love the changing leaves, walking outside without sweating and swarms of bugs. Essentially, there isn’t much I don’t love about fall. And that includes Halloween. There are a few things though, including pets with chocolate toxicity. This year, pay attention to the rare downfalls so that you can spend the evening watching cute kids instead of dropping your pet off at the vet.


Infuriatingly, the best part about Halloween is also the most dangerous. Bags of candy have already started appearing everywhere. Tiny chocolate bars, lollipops and other forms of sugar abound. This thrills me to no end. However, it is dangerous for our pets to eat chocolate; especially dangerous for the pets that think nothing of jumping up and helping themselves. Keep all candy OUT of reach. This includes candy falling out of backpacks and purses. This may mean putting candy up on tables, counters or inside child-locked cupboards, depending on your pet’s personality. No candy is good for them, but chocolate, raisins and sugar-free are the absolute no-nos.

It is important to speak with children and make sure they understand the consequences of leaving candy out. It can be difficult to understand that something so good which they eat without trouble can be deadly to a pet. Most children (especially if there are more than one) are happy to find a hiding spot for their loot. If they are allowed to keep the candy in their rooms, help search for a closeted area or drawer. If you keep the candy to “ration out,” make sure that adults have plenty of access but pets have none. Do not underestimate our cats; while not as silly as dogs, they have been known to partake in fun-sized chocolates as well.

If your animals do get into the candy, especially chocolate or raisins, call your veterinarian immediately. When we are able to intervene quickly before the chocolate starts to be absorbed, pets have a better chance of survival. Each pet reacts differently to chocolate, but it can cause everything from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and kidney failure. The higher the percentage of cocoa the more deadly, but pets can have serious effects from just a small amount. We all have known the dog that ate a whole chocolate cake and was fine. Unfortunately, as a vet I also know the dogs who ate just a few dark-chocolate bars and were not fine. Instead of risking your pet falling into the latter category, just put it far away.

Sugar-free candy is just as dangerous, so don’t be fooled. Artificial sugar causes seizures, blood glucose abnormalities and liver failure.

Open doors, knocking and yelling

Door bells ringing, kids yelling, doors opening 75 times in a night — all of these things can be stressful and dangerous. Indoor cats should be kept closed in a back room, because the constant opening of the door can provide a dangerous situation. It is difficult to pay attention to the animals while looking at costumes and handing out candy.

If your dog is sensitive to commotion or unnerved by the ghouls visiting, it is best to keep them in another part of the house as well. If the doorbell is a trigger, simply place a sign outside asking visitors to knock instead. Similar to treat-training dogs, it seems that people follow directions much better when they have a candy reward waiting.

Even if your dog is typically easy-going, a child dressed in a dark mask yelling with a glowing saber may be cause for alarm. Take the stress out and let your dogs hang out in the back of the house.

If you have a black cat, play it safe and keep them indoors leading up to Halloween. It sounds alarming that people still take cats, I know. Not all people are as educated, nice and understanding as my clients and readers.

So please, dress up your pets and come visit me. Bring me lots of candy. Then put pets away for the actual Halloween celebrations and instead of risking them getting candy, just leave it at my office.

Source: https://www.rutlandherald.com/rutland_reader/columns/off_the_leash/bittersweet-halloween/article_d9c1709b-42d1-5c7a-a61d-a64969bad373.html

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