Halloween candy a danger to pets

Published 8:32 am Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween is approaching and now is the time families need to remind each other to keep the candy away from the pets!

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, Halloween is their busiest time of the year. Chocolate is one of the most problematic. A 50-pound dog may be sickened by 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 8 ounces of milk chocolate. Methylxanthines, the chemicals in chocolate may cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, elevated heart rate and, in severe cases, seizures.

Small dogs may be more at risk to toxicity due to the amount of chocolate consumed relative to their body weight. Puppies and young dogs are more likely to ingest large amounts of unusual foods.

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Treatment varies from induction of vomiting to valium for seizure control or lidocaine intravenous if excessively rapid heart rate (V tach) exists.

Another cold weather threat to pets is antifreeze. Care should be taken to avoid spillage if adding to or flushing a radiator. Ethylene glycol is the toxic substance in antifreeze, and it is readily absorbed from the stomach. It affects the nervous system and can cause irreversible kidney failure in one to four days post ingestion.

Early clinical signs may include nausea, incoordination, head tremors and frequent thirst. Treatment can involve IV fluids, hospitalization, ethanol and even fomepizole IV if available.

Enjoy the season but be mindful of the animals. As usual, if you have any questions or concerns pertaining to the health of your pet, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.


Steven E. Elwood


Albert Lea Animal Shelter

Albert Lea