Valentine’s Day bring lots of fun for kids and adults, but with the fun it brings one of the most hazardous times of the year for our dogs and cats. Over 98% of the calls to the Animal Poison Control Hotline in mid-February are about chocolate ingestion by dogs!
The kind of chocolate and the amount are what is important if your pet consumes candy or baked goods. If you have the packaging, keep that because it will give your veterinarian the most information possible when trying to calculate toxicity levels based on ingredients. Bitter chocolate and dark chocolate are the worst offenders for our pets. It is really important to keep your Valentine’s candy up and away from your dogs and cats. Thoroughly check your kids backpacks too, that’s a common location that dogs have easy access to! Baked goods, chocolate covered nuts, treats, and coffee beans are also sources of chocolate for our furry friends.
There are a wide range of signs that can be seen after a cat or dog ingests chocolate. These range from vomiting and diarrhea, agitation, thirst, lethargy, racing heart rate, heart arrhythmias, hyperactivity, seizures, tremors and sometimes even death.
If you believe that your pet has ingested chocolate, please call your veterinarian immediately. It will be important to know what exactly they consumed or how much. There are several types of treatments that can be administered based on the toxicity risk. If consumption has occurred recently, inducing vomiting can sometimes be done to reduce the amount of chocolate in the body. Giving activated charcoal helps bind up the substance in the stomach so less is digested. Anti-vomiting medication, hospitalization and IV fluids are sometimes needed in extreme cases. Your veterinarian will be able to help you determine the best route of treatment based on your pet’s situation.
Valentine’s Day is a lot of fun; don’t let this topic scare you! Candy and chocolate are tempting for us and for our pets, but as long as you are careful about where you keep the treats, everything should be ok. If you have questions or concerns about your pets consuming chocolate, please call us at 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Chocolate and xylitol (a sugar substitute) can be toxic to pets. It is important to keep all candy in a place that is inaccessible by your pets. If your pet does consume candy, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control right away, 1-888-426-4435.
Doorbells, strangers in masks, and an open door can be a brewing storm of anxiety and all a stressed pet needs for a great escape. It might be best to have your pet in another room with the door closed to decrease their stress, or at least have your dog on a leash in order to keep them close by you. This is a great time to be sure that your pet’s microchip information is up to date, just in case.
If you decide to dress your pet up in a cute costume, be sure it fits and is not too snug, especially around the neck. Pets like to roll and rub on the floor sometimes with clothes on, so it is important that there are no constricting parts around the neck area. Another thing to keep in mind is any small parts that come on the costume, cats and dogs have been known to chew these off, which is a fright that no one needs.
Candles, Jack-0-Lanterns with candles, and light strands can be dangerous to a pet. Pumpkins and candles can easily be knocked over by an unknowing dog or cat, and for some reason strands of lights are often chewed on by dogs and cats. Be sure to only have candles going in places that are supervised or put decorations in places where they can’t be knocked over. And always turn light strands off if you are not nearby to avoid your pet getting injured.
We would love to see your Halloween pets in costume or trick-or-treating with the family. Send us pictures or stop by the clinic! Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.