Halloween Safety

With Halloween right around the corner, we at Eastern Passage Village Veterinary Hospital want to remind you of the dangers to pets surrounding this holiday. After all, November 1st is always a pretty busy day for us!

Chocolate: Of all candy, chocolate is one of the most toxic to pets. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is to your pet. Methylxanthines are the toxic compounds found in chocolate that are similar to caffeine and more heavily concentrated in the darker varieties. Toxicity symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures.

Candy: Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to stomach upset and pancreatitis in pets. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, is very painful, and is potentially fatal. It may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. Symptoms of pancreatitis include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially, kidney failure or organ damage.

Raisins and Grapes: Any amount of raisins (and grapes) has the potential to cause toxicity in dogs, as well as potentially in cats. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Xylitol: Ingesting small quantities xylitol can cause a rapid drop in your dog’s blood sugar level, leading to seizures, collapse, coma, and death. Higher quantities can cause liver failure, which is often irreversible and fatal. Xylitol is commonly found in sugar-free gums, mints and other candies, as well as in some sugar-free baked goods and dental products.

Candy Wrappers: Often when pets eat Halloween candy, they ingest the wrappers as well. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers can cause a bowel obstruction, which can require surgical intervention to correct. Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, and/or lethargy.

Glow Sticks: Pets, especially cats, seem to love to chew on glow sticks and glow jewelry. Their contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth, as well as profuse drooling and foaming at the mouth.

Costumes:  If you plan on putting your pet in a costume, please be sure it doesn’t impair his vision, movement or air intake. It is recommended not to use costumes that contain metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces that could be ingested. Some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning if ingested. Using dye or apply coloring to your pet’s fur is also not recommended because even if the dye is labeled non-toxic to humans, it could still be harmful to pets. Please keep in mind that a costume can annoy or frighten some dogs when stress is already higher than usual for them. Make certain that any costume (or any clothing at all) is loose and will not make them uncomfortable.

Candles and Decorations: Keep candles and decorations out of reach! Wagging tails and curious pets can result in burns and can lead to a house fire. Decorations such as fake spider webbing material can lead to an obstruction of your pet’s stomach and/or intestines if ingested, requiring an expensive surgical procedure to resolve. Ingestion of spoiling pumpkins can lead to digestive upset.

Help keep your pet safe during Halloween season. If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, or of concern, please contact EPVVH at (902) 465-1213 or Pet Poison Helpline at 855- 764-7661