Expert advice: what to do if your pet eats Halloween candy

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Posted: Nov 02, 2021 11:35 AM

Many families will have an abundance of candy in their homes after Halloween. And whether the candy is sitting in a treat bucket on a child’s floor or in a bowl on the table, pets have more opportunities than usual to access candy that could be harmful to the baby. their health.

Dr Adam Porter, medical director and intensive care specialist at Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS), says in his experience that the rate of pets consuming candy increases around Halloween compared to other times of the year.

“For the record, we’re seeing an increase in ingestion over the course of the week or so on either side of Halloween, with pets coming in for the ingestion of candy and leftover wrappers or even costume parts. “Porter said.

One of the most popular types of candy handed out is chocolate, which is tempting to humans – and dogs. Unfortunately for dogs, eating chocolate can poison them to varying degrees depending on the type and amount they eat.

“The good thing about most of the candy that kids get on Halloween is that they are mostly made from milk chocolate, which contains very little of the primary toxin – theobromine and, to a lesser extent, caffeine – which concerns us in terms of toxicity, ”Porter said. noted.

“While heavy ingestion can cause problems, we are more concerned about the upset stomach and the resulting diarrhea. [milk] ingestion of chocolate. However, dark chocolate and baked chocolate contain a much higher concentration of these components and can cause gastrointestinal signs in addition to more serious side effects, like tremors, seizures or even coma and death. ‘they are at a sufficiently high concentration,’ he continued.

Xylitol is another common component of sugarless candy and gum that is toxic to dogs. If a dog consumes xylitol, it can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) and even liver failure.

Sweets containing raisins can also cause idiosyncratic toxicity, which means it’s not necessarily dose dependent and can lead to kidney failure in some dogs. It is also necessary to watch if you have any candy or other treats specially created for adult use.

“We are seeing more and more ‘candies’ that contain CBD or THC additives,” Porter added. “While these hopefully don’t end up in the hands of children, THC can have a profound effect on our pets in very small doses, so keeping baked goods and the like is imperative. edible products away from pets at all times. “

Who to call

If anyone suspects or has seen their pet ingesting Halloween candy, Porter recommends that they “contact the ASPCA Poison Hotline.” [888-426-4435] to determine if the animal has ingested enough to warrant evaluation by a veterinarian.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There may be consultation fees.

Porter also advises people to visit aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control. The site shows the basic categories of toxins to know as well as the possible complications of these toxicities.

If a pet exhibits clear clinical signs of poisoning, such as tremors, hyperexcitability, repeated vomiting, and / or disorientation, it should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

When medical intervention is needed, treatment can range from something as simple as inducing vomiting to rid the body of the toxin or with hospital monitoring.

“If clinical, chocolate toxicities may require continued hospital monitoring for heart rate / rhythm changes and monitoring,” Porter said. “Ingesting xylitol and raisins can lead to a longer hospital stay for fluid therapy and other supportive care and can even lead to serious complications requiring long-term treatment. THC toxicosis, although initially dramatic, resolves over time, but sometimes requires hospital care during recovery.

To prevent pets from accessing Halloween candy in the first place, make sure you store them safely and never leave them unattended.

Newtown Veterinary Specialists is located at 52 Church Hill Road and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To contact NVS, call 866-419-4054. For more information, visit newtownvets.com.

Journalist Alissa Silber can be reached at [email protected]

While candy is a treat that humans tend to like and consume in greater amounts – especially after Halloween – some types are toxic to pets. Find out what to do if your pet snatches your Halloween treats. – Splash-free photo


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