All Hallow's Eve

Is this a trick? Where's our treats?
Is this a trick? Where's our treats?
Dear Readers,

With Halloween fast approaching, it is appropriate to remind you all about the dangers to pets that lurk among the hobgoblins, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and ghouls. There are many tasty and fun things that will make our furry charges quite ill, should they gain access to our children’s goodies on Halloween. Here’s a few things to consider:

Our dog’s especially acute sense of smell will allow them to find even a well-hidden stash of goodies, no matter how carefully a child (or adult human) may try to conceal them!

Of particular concern are chocolates and candies or gums sweetened with xylitol.

In the case of chocolates, the toxic ingredients are methylxanthines, a family of stimulants that include caffeine. There are generally greater amounts of methylxanthines in darker chocolates and less in so-called “milk” chocolate and even less in chocolate-flavored cakes or brownies. Still, such foods can at the least lead to gastrointestinal signs (the “runs” and/or throwing up) and if the methylxanthine content is high, nervous system signs including tremors (shaking) or even seizures (as in the epileptic type). Do take care to store all such chocolates high and away from your beloved pets!

Xylitol containing candies include sugar-free gum, hard candies, breath mints and some baked goods. It can also be found in cough syrup, children's chewable vitamins, mouthwash, and toothpaste, by the way. It’s used because it is very sweet, but with much less calories than ordinary sugar. Great for diabetic people, not great for interested pets!

Xylitol is in fact extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure and even death.

This happens because the presence of xylitol stimulates the release of insulin which drives blood sugar down. Xylitol may be sweet, but it cannot take the place of real blood sugar, glucose, and hypoglycemia results, often within 60 minutes of ingestion. Should exposure be suspected, contact your veterinarian and/or Animal Poison Control right away.

On Halloween, it’s not just the “treats” that bear dangers to pets, it may also be the "tricks!"  Do be aware of the dangers of “glow sticks.” These novelty items are popular with kids and parents alike to both illuminate costumes and to more easily allow parents to keep an eye on their little demons (the trick) while they are trick-or-treating!

Pets can puncture the casing and be exposed to the liquid inside. Many are labeled non-toxic (to people) but the intensely bitter taste of the contents may lead to copious drooling,  anxiety, hyperactivity and even vomiting. If exposure occurs, rinse the mouth with water and if you believe your pet swallowed the contents, contact poison control for advice and reassurance.

Finally, Halloween, like Independence Day, may be a time of anxiety for the nervous pet.Normal life is suspended and all sorts of odd occurrences go on.

Strangely dressed visitors, incessant doorbells, and sounds of things that go bump in the night may all cause a great deal of distress for some pets. It may be wise to talk to your veterinarian about a mild tranquilizer if your pet has a hard time on All Hallows’ Eve.

The number for National Animal Poison Control is 888-426-4435.

Take a moment to consider how our holiday's may impact our pets but don't forget to have a wonderful Halloween! 


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mary merenoff October 26, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Thank you for this life saving article. My dog ate an entire pack of trident bubble gum 2 days ago and I immediately rushed her to the hospital as it has xylitol in it. She was on glucose IV for two days and now on liver support medicine but she is home thanks to you and this article. I would never have known that Xylitol is so toxic and my poor Miley would not be alive today. Thank you again!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »