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Lesia Shannon Kudelka
Communications Director and Ombudsman
(803) 896-4376

Holly Beeson
Counsel to Office of Communications
(803) 896-5216


This time of year, sweet treats are everywhere! Most people know that chocolate is toxic for pets, but did you know these foods are harmful too?

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Candy or sweeteners with xylitol
  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Coffee
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods

Keep Your Pet Safe this Fall

With temperatures dropping, you may be prepping for icy weather, stocking up on cold remedies and getting your family ready for the holidays, but keep in mind some of these items can be hazardous to your pet.

These are some tips to keep your furry friend safe:

  • Antifreeze is deadly. Once the first cold spell hits, many of us race to prepare our cars. No one wants to get caught off guard by an early winter storm. But please remember that antifreeze and pets don't mix. This toxic chemical tastes sweet, so pets are inclined to lick it up when spilled. Just one teaspoon can kill a cat and two teaspoons can kill a dog. After taking care of your car, be sure to take care of your pets by storing antifreeze safely out of reach. Also, check the surrounding area to be sure no antifreeze has spilled on the pavement.

  • Rodenticides can be unsafe. Be careful if you use rodenticides to keep pests from seeking warmth or looking for food in your house. Designed to lure and eliminate rodents, rodenticides may appeal to a pet's sense of smell and curiosity. If your pets find birds, squirrels, or rats poisoned by rodenticides, they may inadvertently be exposed. When using rodenticides or pesticides, follow the instructions carefully, read all labels, and take every precaution to ensure your pets won't be harmed by these potentially dangerous chemicals.

  • Candy is off-limits. According to the ASPCA┬« Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), Halloween candy and other decorative holiday items can make pets sick. Chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, is dangerous for both dogs and cats. Candy or gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage if eaten by your pets. Also, while decorative pumpkins and corn are relatively nontoxic, they can upset your pet's stomach if ingested.

    • Signs of chocolate toxicity: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Exhibit nervousness and unsteadiness, Act hyperactive, Have seizures, Go into a coma

      If your pet takes a turn for the worst, call your veterinarian or your nearest emergency clinic as soon as possible. Be prepared to tell staffers the following:

      1. Type of candy
      2. Approximate quantity
      3. Size of your pet
      4. How long ago the candy was eaten

  • Human medications can be dangerous. You may know about obvious pet poisons lurking around your home, but you may not realize that some of the biggest culprits are sitting on your nightstand-especially during cold and flu season. In fact, human medications topped the ASPCA's list of common hazards for the past several years. Ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, and decongestants may help you fight cold and allergy symptoms, but they can make your pets very sick. Pets might grab interesting looking bottles off a counter or gobble down medication accidentally dropped on the floor. Be sure to keep all medications in a safe place.

The veterinarian may ask you to take your pet to the veterinarian hospital as soon as possible. Animal emergency rooms see more of this problem at Halloween than at any other time of year.


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Columbia, S.C. 29210
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