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Pet safety

Published October 25. 2012 05:02PM

On Tuesday, the TIMES NEWS, along with area business sponsors, carried a page about Halloween Safety Tips.

The guide was designed to make the Halloween trick-or-treating experience a safe one for young and old people alike.

But dog owners must also be careful when it comes to the candy treats. In 2010, chocolate consumption incidents among dogs increased more than 200 percent, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), the only statewide professional organization of over 2,400 veterinarians from across the state, has released some tips for keeping your pooch safe this Halloween and throughout the remaining 2012 holiday season.

Even something as innocent as the extra doorbell ringing can affect your pet. This constant activity and commotion with trick-or-treaters can frighten some dogs and cause them to bolt when they see the door open.

Dog owners should make sure your dog is wearing a collar with contact information for you or your veterinarian. And make sure your registration information is up-to-date if your dog has a microchip.

The most common danger, however, is candy that is left exposed in the home. Candy should be stored in the refrigerator or in an upper cabinet so your dog can't reach it.

Pet owners must be aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and can even be deadly, depending on the size of the dog and the strength of the chocolate. The chemical toxicity results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, inflammation of the pancreas, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and sometimes, even death. In smaller dogs, even the wrappers from candy can result in a secondary obstruction in the stomach or intestines.

In smaller dogs, even the wrappers from candy can result in a secondary obstruction in the stomach or intestines.

There are also health dangers for your pet in other high sugar, high fat candies as well as in "healthy" human treats such as raisins that sometimes are found in the candy. Raisins are extremely poisonous to dogs and can cause kidney failure. If your dog has eaten any amount of raisins, grapes, or currants, this must be treated as a potentially toxic situation and immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline.

If you have any suspicions about what your dog has ingested, be sure to consult your veterinarian immediately or contact The Pet Poison Helpline at 1.800.213.6680 or www.petpoisonhelpline.com.

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