Pet Talk: Dangers of fall to avoid: candy, rat poison, antifreeze | VailDaily.com

Pet Talk: Dangers of fall to avoid: candy, rat poison, antifreeze

Sheila Fitzpatrick, DVM
Pet Talk

It is my favorite time of year — fall.

The leaves are changing, there is finally a brisk chill in the air (and some snow) and we're gearing up for the holidays. As you're decorating and preparing for the cold weather to roll in, don't forget that there are hazards at home that we don't want your pet to be able to gain access to.

Types of candy

I can't believe it's October — that means Halloween. Chocolate and candy can be toxic to dogs. The ingredient in chocolate that is dangerous is called theobromine. The level of theobromine varies by the type of chocolate we are dealing with.

White chocolate has the least amount, mild chocolate is in the middle and baking chocolate has the most.

You may be wondering what exactly theobromine does to a dog. It may cause an elevated heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures. Keep your Halloween candy and treats out of a dog's reach so that we can avoid an accident.

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Toxic Poisons

Antifreeze has the potential to be very deadly to dogs and cats if they ingest it. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is an odorless, sweet-tasting chemical. A pet may appear "drunk" if they ingest it. You may also see vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea. Have your pet see your veterinarian immediately if you feel they have ingested this as it can be fatal to them.

We all experience the cold and flu this time of year. Please be sure any human medications remain secured away from your pet's reach. Acetaminophen and decongestants may be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. If you feel your pet is feeling under the weather, then contact your veterinarian and don't give them anything you have at home.

Rodents may attempt to come inside as the weather gets colder. If you use any sort of rodenticide (rat poison) in your home, then please be sure to keep it out of reach of your dogs and cats. Any determined pet may sniff out the rodent bait and tear it apart. Even in small amounts, many rodenticides can be fatal if ingested.

No Human Food

We are all guilty of giving into the sad puppy dog eyes when they are begging for our dinner. A piece of bread here, some turkey breast there doesn't seem like that big of a deal right? Wrong.

Human food of any type and quantity has the potential to cause a problem in your dog and cat. As veterinarians, we see anything from vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening pancreatitis. Instead of handing over human food as a treat or reward, use dog treats or kibble or just take them outside to throw the ball.

By being aware of these hazards to your pet, we can all ensure that both you and your pet have a happy fall.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, DVM, owner of Mountain Mobile Vet and The Animal Hospital Center, submitted this column. You can reach her at 970-328-7085.

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