Halloween Candy

We all know one of the great treats of Halloween is, well, the treats! But just like their human companions, cats and dogs like goodies too. I’m sure many pet parents have had to fend off a determined dog or cat when they were eating dinner or have had to quickly rush and clean up a spill if they dropped BBQ sauce on the floor – or else Fido was going to clean it up for them. Let’s begin by going through a list of the basic human foods/items in the kitchen toxic and/or unhealthy to animals.

Beware of these items around your furry friend:




Avocado (toxic to birds, rabbits, horses, sheep, donkeys, goats)


Coconut water/coconut oils



Macadamia nuts


Onions (and onion powder used in Goldfish)



Raw or undercooked meat



Cinnamon (particularly in cats)

Salt/salty foods

Xylitol (artificial sweeteners)

Yeast dough


While it’s never okay to let your pet eat candy, there are food products on this list that are particularly deadly, and often found in your child’s Halloween treat bucket.

Chocolate – the theobromine and caffeine in chocolate is metabolized at a slower rate in pets than in humans. The composites of theobromine and caffeine are thus allowed to build up in their system. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in more serious cases, tremors, seizures, heart arrhythmia, irregular heart rate, and internal bleeding.

Xylitol – sometimes disguised as words like wood sugar, birch sugar, or birch bark extract, when ingested, this substance is rapidly absorbed in your pet’s bloodstream and activates the release of insulin in the pancreas. This leads to hypoglycemia which can result in liver failure, seizures, or death. Xylitol toxicity can present as vomiting, lethargy/weakness, trouble with balance/coordination, tremors, depression, yellowing of the skin or mucus membranes. You have to beware of this substance because it may be used in sugar-free candies or certain peanut butter products.

Grapes/raisins – the tartaric acid in this fruit causes excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney damage, or acute kidney failure. Vomiting is the most common early sign of tartaric acid toxicity and usually occurs within 24 hours of ingestion. Even one little grape or raisin can be fatal depending on the size of the pet. So on Halloween, kids may not like those little raisin boxes, but if they’re discarded, make sure they don’t end up on the ground or in a place your pet or another animal can get to them (and chocolate-covered raisins is just a horrible combination of products to wind up in your pet’s stomach).

Macadamia nuts – their high fat content over-stimulates the pancreas. Pancreatitis presents as abdominal pain, depression, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or weakness in the back legs. Beware of macadamia nut cookies!

Salt – consumption of salt can cause high blood sodium concentration, or, hypernatremia. Signs of salt toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, coma, seizures, lack of coordination, lethargy, tremors, and excessive thirst or urination.

Other items in your child’s Halloween treat bucket to beware of:

Lollipops – your pet can choke on the sticks.

Wrappers – your Halloween candy is often dressed up in colorful foil or cellophane wrappers, but if ingested, this can cause a serious obstruction that may require expensive radiographs to diagnose and even more costly, a surgery to remove. Signs of possible foreign body obstruction include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, straining to defecate or not defecating at all.

If you know or even suspect your pet ingested something potentially hazardous, please call the ASPCA Poison Control at 888-426-4435!

Halloween Pet Costumes

Halloween costumes for our pets can be cute, but they can also pose a few hazards.

Allergies/irritants: You have to be careful of the types of material used in the pet costume, or what the costume was possibly washed in. Certain fabrics and laundry detergents can cause irritation to your pet’s sensitive skin. They could be abrasive against their bellies, cause a rash, or cause itching of the abdomen, face, legs, or paws.

Loose or dangling pieces: With detailed costumes, there may be dangling parts like eight bouncing legs if you put a spider costume on your Shih Tzu, bells only held by a flimsy piece of string, bows, fake tails, feathers, etc. But these items could potentially be things your pet trips over, or tries to chew off and swallow. This would cause risk of choking. Or, if your pet does ingest a piece of its costume, could lead to a costly visit to the vet for x-rays and possible surgery for an obstruction. You also don’t want anything on your pet that they could strangle themselves on – this is why emergency break-away collars are good for cats because they can squish themselves into small spaces and why harnesses are a safer idea than collars for dog breeds like English Bulldogs or Dachshunds.

Restrictive costumes (or, It’s Too Tight!): This goes along with potential strangulation. You don’t want a costume that is too tight around your pet’s body. Watch out for pesky elastics or adhesives that are holding a costume together. These items can also pinch and pull out fur – ouch!

You also do not want to obstruct your pet’s vision (like with masks or head pieces) or potentially restrict breathing (you should probably not put anything that covers your Bulldog’s face).

Not to mention, if a costume is too restrictive or limits a pet’s mobility, this is very uncomfortable to an animal and can cause anxiety.

It’s important to recognize your pet’s anxiety cues, and not just for Halloween: panting, ears back, yawning, aggression, tail tucked, urination or defecation in the house, vocalization (like excessive meowing or barking), pacing, drooling, destructive behavior, decreased appetite, trembling, excessive grooming, hiding. Stress can then trigger health issues for your furry friend like diarrhea, immune suppressant response, and idiopathic cystitis among other problems.

A warning about taking your pet in his or her costume outdoors among the trick-or-treaters: Halloween night entails loud excited children, possible traffic sounds, other unusual and/or loud noises, and potentially hazardous Halloween decorations. And if your pet gets spooked, they may run away. It is probably a good idea to make sure your pet is microchipped, has visible contact information on their collar, or even invest in a tracking device that you can attach to their collar or harness. Or better yet, if you know your pet doesn’t have the temperament for a loud, chaotic environment, leave them home in a comfortable calming room.

Do not ever leave an animal by itself while in a costume (and it’s probably not a good idea to leave your pet alone outside during Halloween anyway). There is the potential for an increase in pet abductions on Halloween. And let’s not forget those of us who are pet parents to black cats. Halloween brings out spooky tales of folk lore and superstitions, and there will always be cruel people. This is why some animal shelters do not adopt out their black cats on or around Halloween, for the cats’ safety.

This should be an enjoyable time for both of you, not scary or stressful. So before you pull out the sewing kit or go to Petsmart to pick out a cute pet costume, remember to keep in mind what is safe and comfortable for your furry friend.

Welcome post

Good afternoon friends of AHR, I take up the pen and keyboard to write this post as a dedication to Bob, the clinic cat. Our sweet Bobby has since passed away, but he will never be forgotten, nor will any of the furry friends who we have loved and have passed on. But this is not goodbye, only a pause until we meet again. So during this time, we will keep up the blog, for Bob.

September has passed, and October is now upon us – the pumpkin spice season, and yes, apparently there is such a thing as pumpkin spice treats for dogs! During this time, remember to keep your furry loved ones close, keep them comfortable, and keep them healthy.

I look forward to delving into October with Halloween-themed posts, interesting thoughts, and helpful tips for our pets. I now close this brief post with a poem, in memoriam to our beloved clinic cat, Bob.

Waiting at the Door

I was just a kitten when we first met,

I loved you from the start.

You picked me up and took me home,

And placed me in your heart.

Good times we had together,

We shared all life could throw.

But years passed all too quickly,

My time has come to go.

I know how much you miss me,

I know your heart is sore

I see the tears that fall

When I’m not waiting at the door.

You always did your best for me,

Your love was plain to see.

For even though it broke your heart,

You set my spirit free.

So please be brave without me,

One day we’ll meet once more.

For when you’re called to heaven,

I’ll be waiting at the door.

-Author unknown

Keeping your pets warm

One of the most common things we have been asked over the last few days is to board family pets because people have no heat.

We wanted to provide you a simple list of some things that you can do from home for your animals to try to keep everyone else safe and warm as possible.

We hate to state the obvious, but we will…Keep your pets inside with you and your family. Under no circumstances should pet cats be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during other seasons. 

One of the best ways to provide warmth is body heat. Snuggling together in bed or on the couch or holding your pet close. there are other therapeutic reasons to snuggle your pet, but keeping you both warm tops the list! Go into a center room of the home away from windows.

You can put small baby socks on your pets feet to try to prevent them from losing heat through their extremities. Watch your pet closely to be sure they do not eat the socks. You do not want an obstruction in the midst of a snow storm.

If you have access to warm water, you can heat water bottles and wrap them in towels and put them near your pet. Extra blankets can be used on their bedding.

Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater—even during short walks.

Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.

Keep in mind that cars are one of the many hazards to small animals—warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine. Antifreeze is also a serious risk during cold weather. It’s sweet tasting and attracts animals.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your pets!

Weathering the storms

We were happy to be open today were very happy to have power. We were one of the only clinics in the area who was open which meant for a busy day.

When the doctor at her nurse arrived to the clinic, there was an emergency bit by a dog waiting to be seen. Amidst getting this patient sutured up and stable, We had our regularly scheduled appointments begin to arrive. Seizing dogs, vomiting patients, a pet who ate some thing they shouldn’t, another bit by dog, a feeding tube placement on a critically ill kitty…

Dr. Hurley an Dr. Clary came to the rescue along with Catie and Taylor and got right to work saving lives. We love what we do and our fantastic clients.

Please say a little prayer for the emergency vet clinics in the area. They are overwhelmed and understaffed and trying their best to take care of all of the patients who need help.

We will be back at 9 AM tomorrow to do it all over again! The area is overwhelmed with urgent care so please consider rescheduling wellness and vaccine appointments until a later date if possible. If your pet is ill but not critical, please text us to see if you need to come in to be seen 972-805-1491. Please remember that we can also do some telemedicine appointments depending on the case.have power.

Here are some cute boarder pictures from today 💜


How obedient is your fur baby? Can they resist a tasty temptation? Lately I’ve noticed a new viral trend of videos going around of children having their obedience challenged with fruit snacks. The parents will leave their child alone with a bowl of fruit snacks or some other type of candy and advise them not to eat the candy until they come back, basically testing their child’s obedience by mixing in a delightful temptation.

Some children failed miserably and some did pretty well. While watching all of the videos I came across this one video of a man and his dog doing the same thing but with a dog treat. I thought to myself “how will my dog do with this challenge”.

Click the link below to find out how my fur baby did! Try this out on your fur babies
and put the hashtag #furbabytreatchallenge so we can see how they do. Will they pass or will they fail miserably? Let’s start this week off right with a little laughter! We all definitely need it during this time. Happy Monday!!


Dr. Erica Watson

Ariel Placing an IV Catheter

All surgeries and dental procedures have an IV catheter placed as part of the procedure.  When your pet is admitted for surgery, the first thing we do is place an IV and begin IV fluid therapy.

If you’ve ever wondered what this is like, here is a great video of our nurse, Ariel, placing an IV catheter! This is Jocko – who was here for a neuter yesterday!

***tiny bit of blood at end of video during placement if you’re squeamish!


Can Covid live on my dog’s feet?

You’ve probably seen the articles floating around about Covid 19 living on the shoes of humans for up to 5 days.  We have been asked the question “can it live on my dog’s feet” and what are safe ways to properly disinfect them after walks, etc.

You’ll be glad to know that the virus shouldn’t survive on sidewalks or fur and pads for that matter. Just a normal bath is more than enough!

We did recently see an article where someone in Dallas soaked their dog’s feet in bleach to clean them off after a walk, which in turn burned the pads of the feet badly.  Do not do this =)

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