As Halloween approaches, please keep your pet safe. Please remember some cats, dogs and birds get lost or scared in the hustle and bustle of the night’s activities, seeing scary blow-up decorations, hearing loud and creepy noises and reacting to strobe lights. It is best to keep your pets confined to indoors and away from doors that open and close for kids trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Please remember to keep your pet out of the candy bowl and away from Halloween treats. Packaged raisins, grapes and currants are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause extreme abdominal pain and shut-down of the kidneys. Chocolate and cocoa contain a substance called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. When consumed in small quantities, is can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and in large quantities, it can cause elevated blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures and death. A dog weighing 50#, can be poisoned eating just one ounce of baker’s chocolate or just 9 ounces of milk chocolate. Sugarless candies, gums and peanut butter often contain xylitol, a natural sweetener, which is toxic to dogs. Ingestion of a very small amount can be life-threatening and can cause rapid decrease in blood sugar, can cause seizures and can lead into liver failure. Some essential oils and liquid potpourri, used in some Halloween and other holiday decorations, can be harmful to a pet’s liver or kidneys. A few of these oils include cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree and wintergreen. Poisoning can happen through ingestion or through contact skin exposure. If you feel your pet may have ingested a toxic substance, please seek immediate veterinary care. A pet poison helpline is also available (fees apply) at 800-213-6680 or visit their website www.petpoisonhelpline.com. For more complete information regarding poisons and tips for care in pets, please visit our website gentleheartsanimalhospital.com and click on the Pet Health Library. From our veterinary family to your family, have a safe and fun Halloween!