Written By Dr. Crystal Sale
The weather is cooling down, Fall is here, and Halloween is fast approaching. Scary movies and vibrant costumes are some of my favorite things about the ghoulish holiday. While candy doesn’t top that list for me, it is a fundamental part of Halloween tradition and keeping that staple away from the furry ones in the family can sometimes prove to be difficult.
The caffeine and theobromine in cocoa seeds are highly toxic to your pets. They are stimulants that affect the central nervous system and heart muscle causing increased body temperature and heart rate, rigidity in muscles, decreased blood pressure, diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures. These symptoms can last as long as 36 to 72 hours after consumption. The most serious symptoms include weakness, coma, heart failure, and death. Baker’s chocolate, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder, while healthier for human consumption, are much more toxic than white and milk chocolate to your pet. Roughly, a half ounce of chocolate per two pounds of body weight is considered potentially lethal for dogs.
Prevention becomes key to keeping your canine safe. However, keeping sweet treats from your brilliant dog is not always possible, so knowing what to do just in case is also a good idea. You should always consult your veterinarian if your pet ingests anything that might be considered questionable. Or you can contact the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison hotline at 888-426-4435.
our vet might recommend that you induce vomiting. The use of 3% hydrogen peroxide is highly effective and something most people have on hand. Do NOT use anything stronger or more concentrated than the 3% variety that can be obtained at any drug or grocery store. One teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight can be administered to your pup through either a syringe or dropper or by mixing it with vanilla ice cream or peanut butter. Now get them moving because motion helps with the absorption of the hydrogen peroxide. Your dog should vomit within 15 minutes. As a side note, you should never induce more vomiting in an animal that is already vomiting.
While chocolate is probably the greatest potential hazard to dampen your spirits, it is not the only one. Below are a few more tips to keep your canine safe this ghostly holiday.
- Raisins are healthy snacks for us but remember, they are toxic to your pet.
- Be sure to clean up the candy wrappers as they can cause internal blockages for animals that ingest them.
- Make sure you walk your dog before trick-or-treating begins and before it becomes dark outside. Doing this before the crowds will help prevent your dog from eating dropped candy and possibly ingesting discarded wrappers.
- Bring your pets indoors on and close to Halloween. Not everyone loves your pooch as much as you do, so being overly cautious on this holiday may save you some grief and heart ache in the future.
- And remember, just like people, not all pets get into the Halloween spirit. If they seem distressed or anxious in their Halloween costume, let them go au naturale.