It’s trick or treat season! This is always a really fun time for kiddos but it can be scary for pet parents! There are many human foods out there considered dangerous for dogs and cats. And some of them are more plentiful and more easily accessible during this time of year.
A sweet treat for humans, chocolate can make pets really sick! And the severity of its effects on your pet can depend on the type of chocolate consumed, the quantity consumed and the size of your pet.
The toxic component of chocolate is called “theobromine.” Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. In a small dose, chocolate may cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhea. But in larger quantities, theobromine poisoning can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack.
Just remember: the darker the chocolate and the smaller the dog, the more dangerous the combination.
GRAPES AND RAISINS Ingesting grapes and raisins can cause sudden kidney failure in pets. The specific element of these fruits that are toxic to dogs is unknown, however even one single grape can have severe effects on a small dog. Keep these small foods away from pets!
ONIONS AND GARLIC
These 2 ingredients are often found in fall dishes. So don’t share scraps with your pet! Onions and garlic contain N-propyl disulfide, which can be harmful to red blood cells in dogs and cats. This can lead to anemia in your pet, or in severe cases organ failure or death.
While dogs and cats aren’t likely to eat a raw onion or clove of garlic, you have to keep an eye out for this sneaky ingredient. Garlic and onion are added to many processed foods for flavoring, such as baby food, soups and more.
XYLITOL Xylitol is a sweetener often found in candy, gum, baked goods (as a sugar substitute) and toothpaste. Considering the excess amounts of candy and gum that is present this time of year, this is really one to watch out for! Curious dogs may be intrigued by the new smells of these items and indulge by ingesting.
Xylitol can cause insulin release, lowering blood sugar and causing hypoglycemia. Initial signs of trouble include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. If untreated, within a few days liver failure can occur.
PEST CONTROL POISON
This is not a human food, but rather a human tool that is incredibly dangerous for cat owners. This is the time of year that little critters like to find their way to warmer shelter – our houses, garages, or barns. But choosing to control rodents with poison could lead to your cat’s death. We’ve heard this sad story before from one of our clients: the rodent ate the rat poison, the cat at the rat… and then the cat passed away due to the effects of the poison.
Be careful with these types of pest control, or maybe search for alternatives that are not as risky to our feline friends.
Please note this is just a small sampling of foods to be aware of. There are more out there – and plenty of resources for research, including your family vet.
If at any time you suspect your pet has eaten any of the above listed foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.