Be­ware the pets when han­dling the Hal­loween candy haul

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Pets -

NEW YORK — It’s a trick-or­treat­ing tra­di­tion: Dump the night’s candy haul onto the liv­ing room floor to pick out the gems, or do some horse trad­ing with sib­lings or friends. The ex­cite­ment — and sugar rush — may leave hu­mans un­aware that all that candy might just be lethal for their hov­er­ing pet dogs and cats, how­ever.

Those four-legged fam­ily mem­bers can’t me­tab­o­lize candy like hu­mans, said Leasa Greer, man­ager of nu­tri­tion and reg­u­la­tory af­fairs for Solid Gold, a line of nat­u­ral, health-fo­cused foods and treats for dogs and cats. Gen­er­ally, pet own­ers likely know what their an­i­mals should and shouldn’t eat, but they may not know why, she said.

Choco­late, for in­stance, con­tains caf­feine and a com­pound called theo­bromine, which can be toxic in cer­tain doses to both dogs and cats, Greer said. Cats can’t taste sweet so aren’t nec­es­sar­ily as drawn to choco­late as dogs, she noted. Theo­bromine is more con­cen­trated in darker choco­lates so that type is par­tic­u­larly per­ilous, Greer said.

Symp­toms of choco­late up­set in­clude di­ges­tive up­set (vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhea), rest­less­ness, hy­per­ac­tiv­ity and trem­bling, she said.

Then there’s xyl­i­tol, a sugar sub­sti­tute found in some sug­ar­less gums and can­dies. It can cause hy­po­glycemia, seizures and even liver fail­ure in dogs, Greer said. Symp­toms of xyl­i­tol poi­son­ing can in­clude vom­it­ing, weak­ness and lack of co­or­di­na­tion.

Other symp­toms of tox­i­c­ity are lethargy, not defe­cat­ing or strain­ing to defe­cate, in­creased thirst and an el­e­vated heart rate.

“It is im­por­tant to keep Hal­loween candy se­cured in a lo­ca­tion above the an­i­mal’s reach. Con­tain­ers with a se­cure lid will also pre­vent any pos­si­ble en­coun­ters and re­duce the smell. Many an­i­mals are at­tracted to the novel scent of the candy,” said Brian Ogle, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of an­thro­zo­ol­ogy at Bea­con Col­lege in Lees­burg, Florida.

Some tra­di­tional high-sugar can­dies pop­u­lar at Hal­loween may not nec­es­sar­ily be life threat­en­ing but can still cause di­ges­tive up­set in dogs if con­sumed in large amounts, the ex­perts said.

“If you sus­pect your dog may have snuck in to some candy and is hav­ing di­ges­tive up­set, first seek vet­eri­nar­ian su­per­vi­sion and help them soothe their stom­achs with a bland diet that in­cludes home-cooked chicken breast and rice, or ground beef and rice,” Greer said.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for the pets in search of treats, es­pe­cially those who may have earned it by en­dur­ing un­ruly Hal­loween cos­tumes.

Some sea­sonal su­per­foods that dogs and cats can en­joy while the hu­mans live it up on Hal­loween in­clude pump­kin. The rinds make for a great source of sol­u­ble fiber to sup­port proper di­ges­tion, Greer said. Ap­ples are an ex­cel­lent source of phy­tonu­tri­ents that sup­port the over­all health of pets, she said. Len­tils are also a great source of di­etary fiber for a healthy di­ges­tive sys­tem, pro­vid­ing fo­late and mag­ne­sium as well to sup­port heart health.

Doxie Min­ions at a Hal­loween dog pa­rade.

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