Author // Tim Wheaton: Office & Media Manager Categories // My Pets Dr Blog, pet safety

There Are Ways To Minimize The Fright Factor For Your Pet

Princess Dog CostumeHalloween can be so much fun for the humans in the family, but it can be the complete opposite for the animals in your household. It's common to think of the 4th of July as one of the scariest days of the year for pets, but there's more than just alarming sounds to spook our furry family members on October 31. Let's look at some of the most common issues: 

  • Electric Halloween decorations could be mistaken for treats and your pets could also get entangled in dangling cords or decorations. To avoid these hazards, keep all cords and decorations out of their reach and you can also encase any cords in plastic tubing.
  • Trick-or-Treaters could frighten your dog, even if it's his own family members in costumes and masks. Even the friendliest dog could potentially attack out of fear or run away. It may be best to keep your dog in a quiet and separate part of your home, away from the front-door activity of trick-or-treating families. 
  • A good amount of the treats you have around the house could make your animals sick. Chocolate is toxic to dogs; the darker and less sweet the chocolate, the more poisonous and dangerous it is for dogs. 
  • Halloween pranksters have been known to prey on pets, unfortunately, especially black furred pets. Make sure you keep an eye on your animals Halloween night. 
  • Lit candles and Jack-O-Lanterns are an obvious hazard inside and outside of the home. These can be so easily bumped over by pets, or even by their wagging tails. Make sure to keep these out of their reach. 

Let's talk more about the effects chocolate can have on your pet. There are a lot of swirling ideas about one of humans' favorite treats. You may have heard that Baker’s chocolate is the most toxic of chocolates to dogs. This has been found to be true. Just trailing Baker's chocolate in levels of toxicity is dark chocolate, with milk chocolate being not too far behind that. The component of chocolate that is toxic to dogs is called theobromine, which can cause excitation and hyperactivity, increased heart rate and arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and can even cause sudden death.

This is not a topic to take lightly. It is also something that can not be given a cut and dry answer with regards to the danger your pet may (or may not) be in following its consumption of chocolate. The most important things to consider are what kind of chocolate your dog ate, how much your dog ate, how much your dog weighs, and how long ago was the chocolate consumed. If caught and treated early, chocolate toxicity is generally treatable and dogs will recover.

Your immediate questions should be: 

  • What type of chocolate did your dog eat: milk, dark or Bakers?
  • How much do you think your dog consumed, approximately? Keep in mind, it is better to overestimate a little than underestimate.
  • How long has it been since your dog ate the chocolate? Was it a few minutes, an hour, some unknown amount of time while you were away from home?
  • Are you noticing any abnormal behavior? For example, is there vomit and/or diarrhea all over the house? Does your dog seem anxious or hyperactive? What is your dog’s heart rate?

With these answers, your veterinarian can help guide you on the best course of action.

Keep Halloween "safe and sane" for all of the members of your family... the upright walkers and the paw walkers.

About the Author

Tim Wheaton: Office & Media Manager

Tim WheatonA part of the APCC team since September of 2013 as the Office Manager and Media Manager.  His career previously had been steeped in the Title Insurance Industry for over a decade. He has managed staffs in multiple industries, locally and overseas. His marketing and Social Media skills were learned as he manages his own photography business & podcast called "Daddy Unscripted" about being a dad.

There is no coincidence in the shared last name. Tim is Dr. Wheaton's younger brother and has been around APCC and the staff since its inception. Life has come full-circle in that way, as Tim and his brother used to spend nearly every day during summers in their youth at their Dad's veterinary practice in Corona Del Mar.  Dr. Wheaton was always the son destined to follow in their father's footsteps, while Tim was always the more creative-minded one of the two. 

Tim and his wife have two kids of their own and two furry children (Rusty & Audrey), sibling cats adopted from The Pet Rescue Center in 2011. 

Tim will be keeping you up to date with APCC happenings via social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – with pictures, pet health tips, travel tips and ways to keep your babies happy and healthy.

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