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New Threat To Pets This Halloween - Do you Know?

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Guest Contributor: Amber Kingsley

Halloween is like the launching pad for the arrival of the fall and winter holiday season and these festivities can sometimes be especially problematic for our pets. Whether a curious cat is playing with fragile holiday decorations or knocking over candles, perhaps the pooch is sneaking around snitching some dangerous treats like chocolate or consuming too many fatty foods, All Hallow’s Eve is one night we should be on full-alert for some weird threats to our pets.

When we’re wandering around with our pets outdoors, we protect them from obvious threats when it comes to Halloween, like getting hit by a car or having a real-life run-in with a critter that could cause them harm. But also be on the lookout for dropped candy, their discarded wrappers, other garbage, even dead animals can all pose a threat to our pets.


Doghalloween (1)

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When it comes to chocolate, we all know better when it comes to keeping cocoa far-far-away from our four-legged friends. But there’s another danger in the form of a sweet treat that many animal lovers are unaware even exists when it comes to our pets. The consumption of a even a small amount of this dangerous substance can cause them a great deal of discomfort, or in some cases, serious health issues, illnesses or in rare instances, have deadly consequences.


Goodbye Saccharin

Back in the seventies, an artificial sweetener known as saccharin was being widely used in sodas and other products to replace sugar since it was much lower in calories and sugar content. It was later linked to cancer and subsequently banned. The departure of this substance was immortalized in a song, “Goodbye Saccharin” by the late, great comedienne, Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame.

Since then, safer alternatives have hit the marketplace and are considered to be more safe for human consumption. Although there seems to be no potential harm for humans, another sugar substitute, Xylitol, is proving to be dangerous for dogs and cats. It can be found in a number of different products and this newer ingredient is even more toxic than chocolate, since in much smaller doses, if consumed by our companion animals, consequences can be severe.


Dog for halloween

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What About Xylitol?

According to recent research, over half of today’s consumers are unaware of this potential threat to their pets. It can be found in some brands of candy, gum, baked goods, toothpaste and other products. You might be thinking, so what, how is my pet gonna get their paws on Xylitol and where can it be found?

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a type of a natural sugar type of sugar alcohol that also has anti-cavity properties which makes it a common ingredient found in sugar-free gum, mints, mouthwash and toothpaste. It’s also considered safe for diabetics so it’s found in sugar-free baked goods like cookies and muffins. To sweeten the taste of pills for children, it’s also commonly used in chewable vitamins for kids.


Peanut butter

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Peanut Butter Poison

But it is also being put into other pet-friendly products like peanut butter that dogs not only enjoy as a treat, but their humans often put some into toys or apply to worn-out bones to revive them. You would think that peanut butter would be safe from artificial sweeteners, but you’d be wrong.

In any event, be sure your dog doesn’t come into contact with brands, foods, wrappers or the actual product that can contain this dangerous toxic additive. As a consumer, this is another important example and valuable lesson on why we need to READ LABELS CAREFULLY and keep a watchful eye on our pets.   So have fun and be safe! 


Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours to supporting her local shelter Karma Rescue within operations and outreach.  She has spent most of her research with writing about animals; food, health and training related. 



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Interesting. I knew about the dangers of Xylitol, but not that it was ever put in peanut butter. Like you said ... goes to show to always read the label - ESPECIALLY when feeding human food to a dog/cat.

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