Friday, October 30, 2009
Keep your pets safe this Halloween
Transcript of personal comment from this episode of The Web-DVM:
In my personal comment today, on the eve of Halloween, I wish to educate owners on potential dangers that this holiday can pose to our pets. Beginning with cats, especially darkly colored or black cats, there are historical and deep seeded superstitions among some people regarding black cats' association with bad omens or witchcraft on Halloween. Unfortunately, this premise not uncommonly leads to a few disturbed individuals that take these superstitions seriously to a point that they would do harm to a loose feline, especially if darkly colored. That is why in the days leading up to Halloween, the day itself, and for a few days after, it is recommended that you keep all cats indoors and out of harms way from superstitious loons that would wish to do them harm.
Next, let's talk about candy. This is less a problem with cats, but a very common problem with dogs getting into and feasting one or more stashes of candy. This can lead of course to GI disturbance, including vomiting and diarrhea, but can also lead to more serious consequences.
In the case of mass consumption, dogs typically will not take the time to spit out plastic wrappers, but will instead consume the candy, wrappers and all. If enough wrappers are consumed in a short period of time, they can get jammed up in the gut, and cause life threatening GI obstruction, resolvable only by surgical removal in many cases.
If large quantities of chocolate are consumed, there is a component of chocolate called thiobromine, that is liver toxic in certain concentration in dogs, making ingestion of large quantities of chocolate potentially life threatening.
If you are a pumpkin carver, know that dogs absolutely love the taste of pumpkin pulp, making them usually willing to consume as much as is available to eat. While this is not life threatening, pumpkin has a laxative effect on dogs, with large consumed quantities enough to give your dog a case of gas and diarrhea that could make your whole family's life miserable. I speak from experience on this one, with my wife an I to this day, still reminiscing about our mutt Lulu's pumpkin farts from the Halloween of 2001, when she dined on the guts of three carved pumpkins after getting into the garbage. It was a smell I will never forget, and seemed for go on for day without end!
So enjoy your your Halloween, to be sure, one of the most fun holidays for people and pets of all ages. To keep it safe for your pets, just be certain keep your cats inside, keep all candy out of reach of dogs, and do not leave pumpkin pulp accessible to your dogs.