Jenn Pet Vet's Blog

Happy Halloween !!! October 31, 2012

This is my favorite Halloween photo. My Bullmastiff, Petunia (the angel), and her sister, Mousse (the devil). Mousse would not leave Petunia’s halo alone … little devil!



Halloween can be a super fun time for you and your pets but there are some things to be aware of the keep you and your fuzzy four-legged friends safe.

I love dressing up my dogs for Halloween!  But I also have seen some of the problems that end up on my veterinary doorstep during Trick Or Treat time.

Here are some things to do (or not do) to make sure Halloween stays happy. 

Don’t give your dog any candy.

The excess fat and sugar that is typical in candy can cause some pretty bad problems for your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. If this happens your pooch might experience vomiting and diarrhea and possibly a trip to the hospital or having to call me for a housecall if the symptoms are severe.

Avoid these toxic foods:

Chocolate, especially solid dark chocolate, in a large enough amount can be toxic. The typical things that occur with chocolate ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking, increased urination, incoordination, hyperexcitabilty, and it can even cause heart arrhythmias.

Xylitol is found in a lot of sugar free products like chewing gum (and toothpaste – I always remember trick or treating at a dentist’s house when I was a kid and he gave out a toothbrush and toothpaste).  This sweetener is extremely toxic to dogs and causes severe low blood sugar and liver failure. The typical signs of xylitol toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, depression, incoordination, and seizures.

Macadamia Nuts if they are in any cookies, plain, or my favorite – the chocolate covered variety – can cause neurological problems in dogs. If a dog has ingested a toxic amount of macadamia nuts they might have tremors, joint pain, hind limb weakness, depression, incoordination, hypothermia, vomiting, and be unable to get up.

Raisins (and grapes and possibly currants) can cause kidney failure in dogs and possibly in cats and ferrets. It’s not exactly known how this happens and toxicity is not dependent on the amount they eat – a small amount ingested can be just as toxic as a large amount. Symptoms of toxicity may include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

If your dog does eats or if you suspect they may have eaten any of the above mentioned toxic foods call your veterinarian immediately or contact the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435. 

Keep your pets inside

Especially cats! As much as I can’t comprehend how anybody would want to hurt an animal, there are reports every year of cats and dogs deliberately being harmed when some kid’s pranks take a turn for the worse.


I hope all of this helps to keep you and your pets happy and safe this All Hallows’ Eve!

And as always …

Peace, love, and plenty of tail wags~

Jennifer Forsyth, VMD


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