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Paw prints: Be wary of your pet’s holiday diet

On Halloween, and for days after, many of us have an abundance of candy in our homes. Around holiday times, one of the most common problems seen at animal hospitals is poisoned pets.

Some of the common toxicities are found in everyday candy that we all are enjoying right now.

Dogs are the most likely to consume these toxins, as they will readily ingest candy with the wrapper and all. Cats are more finicky and therefore less likely to consume our treats.

Do your best to keep candy out of reach from your pets, but if your dog does eat candy containing one of the ingredients mentioned below, contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control immediately.

Chocolate

Most pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. The toxic ingredients in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. These compounds affect the heart and nervous system.

The levels of toxic compounds vary depending on the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a much higher level of these compounds compared to milk chocolate. If a small dog ingests an ounce of bakers chocolate, the dose could be fatal. However, if a dog eats a tootsie roll, it should be ok and may just have an upset stomach.

If your dog does get into the chocolate, it is important to know the quantity and type when contacting your vet as this information will make a difference in treatment and outcome.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener that is very commonly used in candy, sugar-free gum, cough drops and some baked goods. Xylitol has become so popular in recent years, it is now one of the more frequent poisonings reported for dogs.

The compound causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar and acute liver failure. If your dog consumes xylitol, absorption is rapid and signs can develop within 30 minutes. If medical treatment is provided immediately, prognosis can be good, but if liver failure develops the prognosis becomes poor.

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