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Most of the delicious candy your kids (or you; we’re not judging) bring home tonight will be harmful for your pets. Chocolate, sugar, xylitol, and other ingredients that make this holiday a scrumptious feast for us humans can make your pets sick, possibly even fatally so. If you discover – or even suspect – that your pet has raided the trick-or-treat motherlode, follow these steps immediately to keep him healthy and safe.
1. If possible, identify what your pet has eaten. It is important to provide this critical information to veterinarians and animal hospital staff to help them understand how to treat your pet. If empty wrappers are present, gather them in a ziplock bag. If it is not immediately apparent what your pet has ingested, examine her mouth, teeth, gums, fur, and paws for signs that may help. Melted chocolate around the mouth or sticky caramel in your pet’s paws are evidence that can help diagnose and treat your pet.
2. Call your nearest emergency animal hospital. Calmly describe the symptoms your pet is experiencing and, if possible, identify the kind of candy they’ve helped themselves to. Depending on the quantity and kind of treats your pet has ingested, technicians may be able to provide support and guidance over the phone. If you need to take her to the emergency hospital for treatment, be sure to have on hand the name of your pet’s primary veterinarian and any wrappers from the pilfered treats, or the ingredients you suspect were eaten.
3. Induce vomiting if advised by veterinarian. Follow your veterinarian or animal hospital technician’s guidance to induce vomiting if necessary. Most times this will involve administering hydrogen peroxide with a syringe or dropper.
4. Withhold food for 24 hours. If successful in inducing vomiting, withhold food from your pet for 24 hours to avoid irritating the stomach and prolonging symptoms. Always provide plenty of fresh water and encourage your pet to drink often to avoid dehydration.
Always consult your veterinarian before administering home remedies for sick pets. As always, the best treatment is prevention; keep the candy stash safely out of your pet’s reach to enjoy safe and happy Halloweens for years to come.
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