Halloween is fast approaching and while you take time to enjoy a few treats, don't forget about your four-legged friends. During Halloween it is important to remember that many of the sugary treats we enjoy may be life threatening to our furry friends.

The following list of foods that are toxic to pets has been produced by the Animal Poison Control Center: onions, garlic, xylitol, raisins, grapes, and chocolate.

While garlic may be used to fend off thirsty vampires, neither it nor onions are safe for dogs and cats. When ingested in large quantities they can cause life-threatening blood disorders.

Xylitol is commonly used as a sweetener for sugar free gums and candy. Xylitol can lead to severely low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

Grapes and raisins can be found in combination with chocolate or are often offered alone as healthier options to the traditional sugar-filled holiday candies. When consumed by dogs and cats they can lead to life-threatening kidney failure.

No holiday would be complete without chocolate but as with anything, too much of a good thing can be deadly. The toxic components of chocolate, theobromine and caffeine, varies in concentration between the different types of chocolate and the darker the chocolate the higher the toxicity. The consequences of chocolate ingestion can vary depending on the type and quantity of chocolate ingested and can range from excitability to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures or death.
So, what do we put in the jack-o-lantern for our pets?

A trip to your local pet store will offer a wide variety of safe pet specific treats. Many treats available today come in low calorie varieties to help prevent weight gain. Other healthy low calorie treats you can offer your dog are carrots and green beans or for your cat you can offer it water from a can of chicken or tuna fish.

Just as we are health conscious, we also need to watch the waistlines of our pets as animal obesity is on the rise and is a leading cause of disease in companion animals. Obesity can also contribute to secondary diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, and arthritis. It is not recommended to feed table scraps because they can often be high in fat and cause stomach upset.

We hope this information will help you choose a treat for your favorite monster that will allow you to enjoy several more spooky holidays together. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

If you believe your pet has ingested these or any other potential toxin you should contact the Fort Belvoir Veterinary Center at (703) 805-4336, a local veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

For additional information visit us at www.belvoirmwr.com/Facilities/Vet-Clinic/ or call (703) 805-4336.

Page last updated Fri October 28th, 2011 at 14:59