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Photo Courtesy AKC

Chocolate is no Treat For Fido

Protect Your Pooch from Halloween Hazards

With Halloween right around the corner, the AKC has their Breeders of Merit spreading the news about the dangers that

Photo Courtesy AKC
Photo Courtesy AKC

chocolate poses to the family dog. A lot of myths exist, and it’s important for pet owners to realize the risks, know how to prevent candy ingestion and be prepared if their dogs eat some during this season. In addition, there are other tips that dog owners and families (the kids, too) need to know about how best to prepare the pooch for trick-or-treaters.

Chocolate can sicken and even kill dogs, and it is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning. No amount of chocolate is OK for your dog to consume. Chocolate is made from cocoa, and cocoa beans contain caffeine and a related chemical compound called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Truly toxic amounts can induce hyperactivity, tremors, high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, seizures, respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest. The more theobromine a cocoa product contains, the more poisonous it is to your dog.

If your dog does happen to ingest chocolate, the AKC advises that you call your vet immediately. The longer the poison is in the dog’s system, the more extensive the damage, so there’s not a lot of time. Additionally, Halloween may be fun and games to most people, but it can be a very frightening time for your dog. Beyond toxic candy, strange-looking costumes and seemingly innocent Halloween traditions can pose other threats:

  • Walk your dog while it’s still light outside on Halloween. Your dog may find candy, wrappers and broken eggs on lawns and streets. Make sure these things stay out of reach, as they can be harmful to your dog.
  • Children in costumes can frighten dogs. Keep your dog in a safe and secure room when you answer the door for trick-or-treaters to prevent him from running out, getting hurt or scaring your visitors.
  • Keep the leash handy.  If you want your dog to greet trick-or-treaters with you, keep him on the leash for his safety. He may be stressed by the noise, activity or simply the interruption of his normal routine.
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended.  Even if your dog is behind a fence outside on Halloween, do not leave him alone. Pranksters may target your dog with eggs, and passersby may be tempted to give him harmful treats.
  • Be careful about where you place candles and Jack-o-Lanterns. They can be knocked over by your dog’s wagging tail and either burn him or start a fire.

Beyond Halloween, other seasonally popular foods and plants are poisonous to dogs:  Soap berry; Almond; Apricot; English Holly. The AKC offers a comprehensive pet health and emergency page on their website.

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