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Wed, Feb. 19

All About Pets: Halloween is here again

Lacy is always on the lookout for a misplaced treat without any regard for its potential danger. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

Lacy is always on the lookout for a misplaced treat without any regard for its potential danger. (Christy Powers/Courtesy)

How fast time flies, whether you are having fun or not. All of a sudden the leaves are changing color and falling. As the dogs and I were walking this morning, I was noticing the many colors of leaves that were huddled along the side of the road. Red, orange, yellow, brown and green. So beautiful. And looking up, so many beautiful colors. And also in view are the millions of brownish pine needles waiting to come tumbling down after we have just swept up the last batch.

Another sign that it is getting cold is that my cherry tomatoes are finally done for the year. They have provided nonstop enjoyment all season for my neighbors and me, but I missed covering them when that first frost snuck in recently. A few are still hanging on however.

My neighbor contacted me the other morning to inform me that there was a deer in my fenced yard chewing on something. Looking out, several deer were on guard outside of the fence. When the intruder was aware that she was being observed by BoJay and me, she effortlessly leaped over the four foot fence. Amazing. I think she was enjoying my geraniums.

Most obviously, it is the season, and you cannot enter a store without being inundated with all the great choices of treats and decorations for Halloween while being enticed to buy lots with hopefully enough leftovers for self indulgence after the onslaught of trick-or-treaters.

My aim is to inform pet owners of the dangers lurking in all that Halloween delight. Of primary concern and greatest abundance is chocolate. Very harmful for our pets. Chocolate is bad but theobromine in dark chocolate and baking chocolate is the worst. Also bad is excess sugar, which is found in all candy.

But beyond Halloween, there are many foods to keep away from our buddies. I have done a little research to uncover more of these harmful foods. There are quite a few and certainly some that I did not know about and some that might be open for dispute. Among the most common ones are grapes and raisins which can be fatal and are found in so many things. Onions and garlic: you must be careful if you make soup to share, leave these two out. Alcohol is harmful. Xylitol is a sweetener that is used in gum, candy and baked goods, and should be kept away from our pets. Caffeine is bad and is found not just in coffee but in cocoa and energy drinks. Macadamia nuts are on the no list. Fat trimmings from our dinner can cause pancreatitis. Unbaked dough is bad. And we have all heard stories of dogs finding pills that have been dropped unknown to us. People meds can be very dangerous. Too much salt is bad for our pets as well as for us.

A biggie that is bad for our pets, and also not the best for us, is processed meat. This can make it so easy when making a quick sandwich but it can be very harmful to our pets. It is so easy to break off a little piece and hand it over to those begging eyes. Don’t do it!

These are just a few in a long list of foods that can be toxic to our pets. Common sense rules! For more, check the internet for -“Harmful foods for pets”. And if you have a question or concern, call ASPCA, Animal Poison control - 888 426 4435.

But getting back to the Halloween theme, I heard on the news that it has been illegal, at least in Maricopa County, to put pumpkins out in front of your house because they attract javelina: they love them. I do not have fresh pumpkins out front, but I certainly have javelina.

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

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