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Tue, June 25

Powers: Healthful and helpful hints for your pets in preparation for Halloween

Danger lurks in obvious places for our clever pets as Halloween candy begins to appear. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)
Christy Powers

Danger lurks in obvious places for our clever pets as Halloween candy begins to appear. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

Halloween is just around the corner. Fun time for the kids. Bad time if the pets get into the loot. It is a good time to have some extra special treats nearby for the pups and kitties as a distraction. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which can make the pet extremely ill. All candy should be kept out of reach of those inquisitive noses and quick jaws.

Both dogs and cats are very clever thieves and their extra keen sense of smell tells them where to find the good stuff.

Besides candy, there are other dangers lurking on the counters. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Very frightening. Some dogs are more resistant than others but it is frightening. Recently, I met a clever dog that helped himself to some grapes growing on the vine right in his own yard. He did get very ill and had to have surgery. If you have grapes growing in your yard, it would be a good idea to fence them off from your pets.

So many dogs and cats today are overweight. A good treat for these guys is green beans. Canned beans are fine if we buy the unsalted ones, but it is a good idea to rinse the beans before giving them to the beggars at our feet.

But also, mix the beans in with a reduced quantity of their food. Beans are low in calories and high in bulk - so they make the guys feel full without letting them feel deprived.

Whole carrots make a good treat and can keep them busy for a bit. I am told they do not stain the carpet! Most dogs love baby cut carrots. However, do not overdo it. Too many carrots can turn a dog orange!!

A couple of helpful hints - mix up a non-toxic spray with equal parts Listerine, dishwashing liquid and water to remove the odor from that frequently used place in the yard. The Listerine kills the bacteria responsible for the odor and the soap helps it cling to the surface. It will not harm the grass or plants.

All dog and cat owners end up with an accident in the house or on the deck or patio at one time or another. Once that smell is there, pets are likely to return to that spot. Cleaning the spot with ammonia, which is a component of urine, draws the animals back. Cut white vinegar with water and - it works miracles. Actually, white vinegar is a must to always have handy around the house. I even used a bit of it when my girl got skunked.

A precaution. Have you ever dropped a pill container unknowingly? Or, like me, have you stayed at a motel and found a pill hiding under the edge of the bed? Dogs love to play with containers - particularly if they make a rattling sound. Be ever so vigilant for stray pills or pill containers. And if your pet does get a taste of some pills, watch him closely and contact your vet right away.

One final note, always have a can of pumpkin, 100% pure pumpkin, on hand in the pantry. (Make sure it is not pumpkin pie mix - very important!) And if traveling, it is extra important to keep a can handy, as well as a can opener! Pumpkin has a high fiber content and will relieve bouts of diarrhea, constipation and other stomach upsets. This is a good time to buy a can or two since pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving are on the calendar. And check the date on those cans occasionally to make sure they have not expired. (I just checked mine and it has expired!)

The weather is so perfectly beautiful these days - perfect for those extra-long walks with our pups. It is so good for them and for us. Happy fall!!

Christy Powers is a freelance writer whose passion is studying and writing about pet health, nutrition and training. She can be reached at

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