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Happy Halloween, now let’s think about our pets!

October 31, 2012

Jack-o’-lanterns, trick-or-treaters, haunted houses and costume  parties. Halloween is full of fun things for you and your family to enjoy, but  it’s one of those holidays that is enjoyed more by people than by pets.

Keep the following precautions in mind when preparing for the  frightfully fun festivities and help ensure that everyone in your  family—including your pet—has a safe Halloween. 

  •       Keep your pet in a quiet place, away  from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. You may  know that the miniature monsters and goblins who come knocking on Halloween  aren’t real, but pets don’t. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and could  become frightened or agitated by the unaccustomed sights and sounds of costumed  visitors. In addition, frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for  escape, which can go unnoticed during all the commotion. Be sure all pets are  wearing collars and ID tags in case of an accidental getaway.
  •       Cats—black ones in particular—often  fall victim to pranksters. Keep cats safely indoors. Visit for more  information.
  •       Place live flame decorations like  candles and jack-o’-lanterns out of your pet’s reach. Curious  critters risk being singed or burned by the flame—they could also easily knock  over a candle or pumpkin and cause a fire.
  •        Keep candy away from  pets. All those sweets may taste great to critters, but candy,  especially chocolate, can be toxic to pets. Candy wrappers can also be  harmful if swallowed. Instead, tempt your pet with a few of his favorite  treats.
  •       Resist the urge to put your pet in a  costume. You may think your pet looks adorable dressed as a  princess, but most pets don’t like the constraints of costumes. If you do decide  to play dress-up, make sure the costume is safe for your pet and doesn’t  constrain her movement, hearing or ability to breathe. Check the costume for  parts your pet could chew off and choke on and look for dangling pieces like  flowing capes that could injure her.
  •      Don’t let the family dog accompany the  kids on their trick-or-treat outing. Children may have a  difficult time handling a pet during the festivities and your pooch could get  loose, especially if your dog is spooked by the strange sights and sounds of  trick-or-treaters
  •      Keep decorations that pets could chew  on—like streamers and fake spider webs—and wires and cords from electric  decorations out of reach. If pets chomp on Halloween  decorations they could choke or become ill and, if they chew on electrical  cords, they risk a potentially deadly electrical shock. Pets could  also become tangled and injured by dangling cords or  decorations.

Why Is  Chocolate Bad?

Sometimes we eat  chocolate plain. Sometimes we eat it baked into cakes, mixed into ice cream,  etc. The first problem with these sweets is the fat. A sudden high fat meal  (such as demolishing a bag of chocolate bars left accessible at Halloween time)  can create a lethal metabolic disease in pets called pancreatitis. Vomiting,  diarrhea, and abdominal pain are just the beginning of this disaster. Remember,  in the case of pancreatitis, it is the fat that causes the problem more than the  chocolate itself.

The fat and sugar in  the chocolate can create an unpleasant but temporary upset stomach. This is what  happens in most chocolate ingestion cases.

Chocolate is,  however, directly toxic because of the theobromine. The more chocolate liquor  there is in a product, the more theobromine is present. This makes baking  chocolate the worst for pets, followed by semisweet and dark chocolate, followed  by milk chocolate, followed by chocolate flavored cakes or cookies. Theobromine  causes:

  • Vomiting  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Hyperactivity  
  • Tremors  
  • Seizures  
  • Racing heart rhythm   progressing to abnormal rhythms
  • Death in severe   cases

Toxic doses of  theobromine are 9 mg per pound of dog for mild signs, up to 18 mg per pound of  dog for severe signs. Milk chocolate contains 44 mg / ounce of theobromine while  semisweet chocolate contains 150 mg per ounce, and baking chocolate contains 390  mg per ounce.

It takes nearly 4  days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of a dog’s system. If the  chocolate was only just eaten, it is possible to induce vomiting; otherwise,  hospitalization and support are needed until the chocolate has worked its way  out of the system.

Gunwel Associates is a pet friendly office and you will often see Loretta & Tess playing about the office. Today they are not in Halloween costumes simply because I found only one “wonder woman” costume at Pet Smart that would fit them and I felt it would not be fair to wear the costume in shifts…LOL, besides they need to help hand out the candy. Give us a call (at 615-730-9444) and tell us how your pet did this Halloween eve. Don’t forget that this is a great time for a tax check up. Let us take a look at how your financial year has shaped up as we began our final months of 2012. You work hard for your money, let G.A.I. work smart to help you keep it! Visit our website at and come by and see us soon!

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