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Posted on 11-01-2013

At Halloween time it is easy to find lists of "don'ts" when it comes to sharing treats with your four-legged friends. Chocolate, artificial sweetners and lots of other common candy ingredients can pose a serious risk. This doesn't mean that our pets have to be totally left out of the festivities! There are plenty of pet-safe treats that you can find or make to share with your furry pals.

Carob is a popular pet-safe alternative to chocolate because it does not contain methylxanthines- the toxic component of chocolate. Many gourmet pet bakeries provide carob-based birthday cakes or cookies. Carob chips can be incorporated into homemade dog biscuits or melted to drizzle on top of other pet-safe treats. Peanut butter is another common food that's safe to share with pets. In addition to being a fun treat for special occasions it's also good for hiding any pills your pet may need to take. Canned pumpkin is also a great option for dogs and cats. It's safe, tasty and hight in fiber for good digestive health. Just make sure to choose plain canned pumpkin, not pre-mixed pumpkin pie filling which contains spices such as nutmeg that may not be good for pets. Both canned pumpkin and peanut butter can be used in making homemade treats that pets adore!

While not all fruits are safe for pets, there are plenty that are both safe and appealing. Bananas are sweet and can be prepared in various ways. They can be frozen or dried into banana chips, or mashed into a tasty pulp for stuffing into a fillable toy. Why not drizzle banana slices with carob? Or try a people-safe combo that's  a hit with pups: apple slices with peanut butter!

Another safe and healthy ingredient is plain or naturally sweetened yogurt, but make sure to avoid any artificial sweeteners which can be toxic for pets. Cottage cheese or cream cheese can be especially appealing to cats. Other cheeses like colby or cheddar are tasty and can be another great option for hiding pills. Beware of giving too much of a good thing though, because of the salt and fat content of some cheeses, it is best to give these in moderation.

If you're not sure whether something is safe to feed your pet, the ASPCA maintains an extensive directory of toxic and non-toxic foods, as well as common house and garden plants at www.aspca.org. In the event that your dog or cat ingests any possibly toxic substance, you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1(800)213-6680.

If you're ready to share some tasty treats with your pets, try these recipes from the ASPCA! http://www.aspca.org/blog/easy-make-halloween-treats-pets

Sources:

http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/why-chocolate-bad-dogs

http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/carob-chips

Various other ASPCA resources.

Eagle Animal Hospital serves Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding areas.

Written by Christina Gerling, technician

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