The Woodward News

Local News

October 26, 2012

Candy is a trick, not treat for pets

Woodward, Okla. — It might be fun to take Fido along while going trick-or-treating on Halloween. But veterinary officials at Oklahoma State University and in Woodward said that dogs shouldn't get treats made for people.

Sugary substances and several other items humans enjoy are hazardous to cats, too.

NO CANDY-COATING HOW POISONOUS CANDY IS FOR PETS

Dr. Marvin Reidlinger, DVM of Woodward Animal Clinic, said chocolate is one prime example of a popular treat for kids that can be dangerous to animals, in particular dogs.

And the darker the chocolate, the more severe the gastrointestinal problems your dog will suffer.

But it's not just chocolate, most candy and other sweets can be poisonous to pets, and in large quantities, may be fatal.

If that's not serious enough, Reidlinger said smaller dogs have an added risk.

"They can choke on hard candy," he said.

OSU veterinarians said Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in gum, candy, nicotine gum, toothpaste, many baked goods and chewable vitamins is extremely poisonous to dogs. The chemical causes low blood sugar and liver damage, which results in vomiting, seizures and collapse.

And it's not just the candy that is harmful.  Both cats and dogs can get life-threatening bowel obstructions from ingesting candy wrappers, which could require surgery to correct, according to OSU veterinarians.

Derinda Blakeney, of the college's veterinary public relations department, said beads and other small parts can fall off costumes and also lead to pet-poisoning.

Other costume accessories such as glow sticks and glow jewelry are also hazardous.  OSU staff said that cats will ingest the glow sticks and that can injure their mouths.

HAZARDS YOU MIGHT NOT EXPECT

Reidlinger, with more than 20 years in animal health practice, said that even treats given out as healthier alternatives to candy on Halloween can be harmful to dogs.

Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs, he said.

In addition, he noted, "Cheese can cause a great deal of digestive distress in dogs."

"In case there's an emergency, if you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous, call the OSU Veterinary Hospital for help," said Blakeney. "The hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (405) 744-7000."

Also, pet lovers may also contact any of the veterinarians at the Woodward Animal Clinic with questions or concerns about their pet at (580) 256-7787, Reidlinger said.

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