Halloween Pet Safety

Halloween Safety Tips 8 worst toxic foods to avoid for Dogs and Cats

Oct 22 • 2 minute read

Among the top Halloween safety tips pet parents need to know, candy cautions rank high. That is why we are addressing 8 of the worst toxic foods for dogs and cats that usually show up around Halloween.

  1. Chocolate - This is well-known at the top of the “What not to feed dogs and cats” list, but it bears repeating at this time of year. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid or irregular heart rate, tremors, and seizures. “Dark chocolate is the most toxic,” notes Dr. DeRosa. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, followed by milk chocolate, while baking chocolate has the highest. Even a few ounces of chocolate can make a small dog sick, so no amount or type of chocolate is ok for a pet to eat.
  2. Coconut bars - The flesh and milk of coconuts in human candy contain oils that may cause an upset stomach and loose stools. And that doesn’t even consider the chocolate coating on these popular treats.
  3. Candy corn and “pixie sticks” - Candy that contains essentially one ingredient—sugar—can cause painful gas and diarrhea.
  4. Chocolate-covered raisins - Raisins (and grapes) are one of the most toxic foods for dogs and cats. Eating them can cause sudden kidney failure in pets. So if your pet ingests them, or you suspect they have (signs include tiredness, vomiting and diarrhea), take them to an emergency vet immediately.
  5. Nut bars -Peanuts, peanut butter, and almonds included in many typical Halloween candies are not safe for pets compared to other peanut-flavored dog treats. Nuts are high in fat, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even pancreatitis in dogs and cats. Macadamia nuts, while less likely to be found in your typical Halloween candies, are especially dangerous. Signs of macadamia nut toxicity show up within 12 hours in dogs and include weakness, vomiting, tremors, and joint pain.
  6. Hard candy - The size, shape, and slipperiness make it a choking hazard to pets. This goes double for lollipops, which include a second hazard: a stick that could injure your dog’s digestive tract.
  7. Sugar-free candy & gum –Xylitol or other artificial sweeteners ingested by a dog or cat causes a rapid, severe drop in blood sugar, giving the pet seizures and possibly rendering him unable to walk. Severe liver damage, if not death, can be the result. Even suspected ingestion of Xylitol is reason enough to head to the veterinary emergency room.
  8. Mini bags of pretzels & chips aren’t candy, but they’re commonly given as handouts to trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, the bags are the problem with these, more than the actual treats. Plastic bags & wrappers pose a risk to themselves. They can irritate the digestive tract & even obstruct their intestines if your pet swallows them in their excitement to get to the goodies inside. “Cats are even more apt to eat plastic than dogs,” notes Dr. DeRosa.

Now you know without a doubt what not to feed dogs and cats. But that doesn’t mean your pup or kitty won’t get any treats this Halloween. If they have their own goodies, they’re less likely to try to steal the forbidden kind. So check out our post tomorrow on our Facebook page at noon for some ideas on what you CAN feed your fur babies and treat them during this festive time of year. 

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