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Halloween: Keep candies, chocolates away from pets, says B.C. veterinarian

An Okanagan veterinarian says while Halloween can be a great time for people, for some pets, it can be stressful.
An Okanagan veterinarian says while Halloween can be a great time for people, for some pets, it can be stressful. Global News

Halloween can be a fun, sweet time, but a B.C. veterinarian is reminding the public not to ignore our furry friends.

In fact, Dr. Moshe Oz of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital in West Kelowna says Halloween — with trick-or-treaters banging on doors and fireworks exploding — can be a stressful time for pets.

“During the holidays, and especially during Halloween, there are some cats and dogs who are sensitive, and they do need some help,” said Oz.

Read more: Vancouver senior, 88, burned while sleeping by firework shot through window

One method of helping soothe frayed nerves, said Oz, involves calming medication with pheromones, “a smell that calms them down.”

Oz also said owners of an anxious or nervous pets should also adjust their homes by placing the animal in an area away from people and loud noises.

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“If we do know we have a sensitive dog or cat or a pet, and we have traffic in the door and lots of kids and lots of noises, or screaming, then maybe we put the dog or the cat downstairs or upstairs just for a while,” said Oz.

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Another reminder: keep sweets away from pets.

According to the website petmd.com, chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), which can sicken dogs. Dogs are far more sensitive to methylxanthines than people, the website said.

The site says chocolate toxicity includes the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)

“We do see lots of cases where dogs and pets eat candies, lots of chocolates, which is not good,” said Oz. “And, once in a while, we do see dogs and cats that do eat the candies with the wrappers.

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“So there are a few reminders this holiday, and just keep a close eye on your pets.”

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