Halloween is right around the corner and could frighten many dog owners. This is one holiday that poses a unique, potential threat to your dogs’ well-being.
For kids, the goal of trick-or-treating is to obtain as much candy as possible by going door to door dressed in costumes and begging for treats.
In recent years, our dogs are getting in on the fun, even wearing custom-made costumes. However, some dogs may not be used to crowds, scary costumes and spooky noises. Keep in mind that your pet could become frightened and behave uncharacteristically by running away, barking excessively or even biting someone.
A more common threat to dogs during Halloween is the ingestion of candy, especially chocolate. Care must be taken when dogs are around. Dogs and cats typically do not bother to remove the wrapper around candy before eating it. They often don’t stop at the stick of a lollipop either.
Most, if not all of these ‘treats’ are anything but that to our teeth, waistlines and to our beloved dogs. Keep all sugary and ‘sugarfree treats well away from them (and kids). Store what you do have in a closed, high location (like behind the shut door of the cabinet above your refrigerator?). If they (kids and dogs) can’t get to them, you’ve won half the battle, right? Well, dogs, like our children, always seem to manage to find a way around our safeguards, so what if they manage to get a hold of some anyway?
How concerned should you be?
Very. And knowledge is your very best safeguard.
Generally speaking, it would take approximately two to three regular-sized candy bars to produce toxicity in a 10-pound dog. However, one ounce of baking chocolate could cause severe toxicity in the same size dog. Theobromine in chocolate causes the release of norepinephrine and epinephrine that causes increase in heart rate and arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat).
Other symptoms of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and sometimes death. Signs are usually seen within 12 hours or less of ingestion. If you suspect that your dog has eaten even the slightest amount of chocolate, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for advice. You may be instructed on how to induce vomiting if it has been less than four hours since ingestion.
Types of Chocolate:
- Milk Chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per oz. (704 mg per pound)
- Semisweet Chocolate contain 150 mg per oz. (2400 mg per pound)
- Baking Chocolate contains 390 mg per oz. (a whopping 6240 mg per pound)
Be extremely careful with your pet and keep them away from Halloween candy to ensure your pet lives a happy and healthy life.