There are not many things scarier for pet owners than making an emergency trip to the vet. But during Halloween, Pet Poison lines are ringing off the hook and animal hospitals are haunted by sick pups. More often than not, the candy pail ends up being the culprit. Pets exposed to Halloween treats or decorations have the potential to develop life-threatening complications. During the week of Halloween, calls to the Pet Poison Helpline pertaining to chocolate, candy overindulgence, raisins and candy wrappers increase by 12 percent, making it the call center’s busiest time of year.


Of all candy, chocolate is one of the most toxic to pets. Last year alone, more than 1,100 calls to Pet Poison Helpline involved exposure to chocolate and 98 percent of them involved dogs. Many dogs are inherently attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate, making it a significant threat. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. The chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous to pets, methylxanthines, are similar to caffeine and more heavily concentrated in the darker varieties. In fact, a 50-pound dog can be sickened by ingesting only one ounce of Baker’s chocolate! To avoid issues, keep Halloween candy well out of the reach of pets at all times. If you think your pet may have ingested chocolate, symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures.

Grapes and Raisins

Perhaps the least know danger for pets during Halloween is that of grapes and raisins. Some people prefer to distribute healthy snacks instead of candy on Halloween, such as mini-boxes of raisins. These are extremely poisonous to dogs! Very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs and, potentially, cats. When it comes to your pets, raisins deserve the same pet-proofing treatment as chocolate – stored in secure containers far from their reach. Unfortunately, some dogs develop idiosyncratic reactions at any dose – in other words, they can ingest any amount and potentially be poisoned. Therefore, any ingestion of raisins or grapes should be treated as a “poisoning” case. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Chocolate Covered Raisins

Chocolate and grape skins are two highly poisonous human foods that dogs simply can’t stomach. In tandem they create a potentially fatal combo that could be difficult to come back from.

As we explained earlier, Methylxanthines are chemicals in chocolate that are similar to caffeine. Once they enter your dog’s system they can cause ailments like diarrhea all the way up to heat failure. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it becomes. Should your dog get into the raisinetts, kidney failure could soon to follow. That’s because, for reasons unknown, grape skins are wholly intolerable for pups. If you suspect Fido has snacked on a package of chocolate covered raisins, don’t wait until you see signs of distress. Take them into the vet for a check immediately.

Centratel is an elite national telephone answering service located in Bend, Oregon. Centratel’s Veterinary Answering Service assists hundreds of Veterinary businesses during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.

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