For most, Halloween is all about costumes, scary movies and candy (and possible stomach aches from eating too much candy). For veterinarians, it’s mostly about the stomach aches, as this holiday is rife with pets taking trips to emergency rooms with cases of GI upset and chocolate toxicity.
To help keep youre pets safe this holiday (and any holiday, really), we spoke with Melissa Bucknoff, DVM, DACVECC, about things to watch.
“The biggest pet worry around holidays is with dogs, because they are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of chocolate,” says Dr. Bucknoff.
If ingested, chocolate can cause:
- Stimulation of the heart and arrhythmias
- High blood pressure
- And in severe cases, death.
Now, the amount and type of chocolate ingested will dictate how severely each pet is affected, but even a small amount of certain types of chocolate can result in the need to have hospitalize your pet for decontamination and supportive treatments.
While it would be easy to just make sure Butch stays away from the chocolate bars, unfortunately, it’s not the only risk to pets.
“Ingesting too much of any candy is not good for any pet, just like in humans,” says Dr. Bucknoff. “Eating too much may result in GI signs, such as vomiting and diarrhea.”
More severe cases can lead to pancreatitis, a painful disease where the pancreas (digestive organ) becomes inflamed.
That’s why it’s so important pet owners should be mindful to keep candy out of reach, especially in households with pets that may be able to reach or jump onto countertops. Educating children about the risks of sharing their trick-or-treating treasures with their pets is also recommended.
In the end, it’s hard not to indulge in all the sweet treats come Halloween night. If that happens, though, just make sure it’s not your pet who has the stomach ache.