Halloween poses other stresses or dangers for pets, but candy is high among them

By Leanne Italie


NEW YORK _ It’s a trick-or-treating tradition: Dump the night’s candy haul onto the living room floor to pick out the gems, or do some horse trading with siblings or friends.

The excitement and sugar rush may leave humans unaware that all that candy might just be lethal for their hovering pet dogs and cats, however.

Those four-legged family members can’t metabolize candy like humans, said Leasa Greer, manager of nutrition and regulatory affairs for Solid Gold, a line of natural, health-focused foods and treats for dogs and cats. Generally, pet owners likely know what their animals should and shouldn’t eat, but they may not know why she said.

Chocolate, for instance, contains caffeine and a compound called theobromine, which can be toxic in certain doses to both dogs and cats, Greer said. Cats can’t taste sweet so aren’t necessarily as drawn to chocolate as dogs, she noted. Theobromine is more concentrated in darker chocolates so that type is particularly perilous, Greer said.

Symptoms of chocolate upset include digestive upset (vomiting, diarrhea), restlessness, hyperactivity and trembling, she said.

Then there’s xylitol, a sugar substitute found in some sugarless gums and candies. It can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and even liver failure in dogs, Greer said. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning can include vomiting, weakness and lack of co-ordination.

“It is important to keep Halloween candy secured in a location above the animal’s reach. Containers with a secure lid will also prevent any possible encounters and reduce the smell. Many animals are attracted to the novel scent of the candy,” said Brian Ogle, an assistant professor of anthrozoology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida.

“Beyond candy, one other major threat to animals is the ingestion of glow sticks. Cats especially love to chew on these objects. The chemicals in these toys can cause severe drooling, mouth irritation and can be quite painful to animals,” he added.

Some traditional high-sugar candies popular at Halloween may not necessarily be life-threatening but can still cause digestive upset in dogs if consumed in large amounts, the experts said.

What’s inside all those wrappers isn’t the only potential problem. Wrappers themselves can be problematic for pets. Dogs that find candy lying around the house often consume the wrappers along with it, which can cause bowel blockages or stomach irritation, Greer said.

“If you suspect your dog may have snuck into some candy and is having digestive upset, first seek veterinarian supervision and help them soothe their stomachs with a bland diet that includes home-cooked chicken breast and rice, or ground beef and rice,” Greer said.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for the pets in search of treats, especially those who may have earned it by enduring unruly Halloween costumes.

Some seasonal superfoods that dogs and cats can enjoy while the humans live it up on Halloween include pumpkin. The rinds make for a great source of soluble fiber to support proper digestion, Greer said. Apples are an excellent source of phytonutrients that support the overall health of pets, she said. Lentils are also a great source of dietary fiber for a healthy digestive system, providing folate and magnesium as well to support heart health.

Most pet bakeries and pet stores stock up on safe seasonal and Halloween-themed treats, noted Sarah Nold, a staff veterinarian at Trupanion, a pet insurance provider.

“On average, chocolate-related health issues cost pet owners about $240 per claim and can go higher, like the $1,200 claim we covered last year for a miniature pinscher who celebrated Halloween by eating some unattended dark chocolate,” she said. “Milk chocolate and white chocolate have lower concentrations of theobromine but have a higher fat content. This means while they are less likely to cause toxicity, they can result in pancreatitis.”

Ben Williamson, a spokesman for the animal rights group PETA, called Halloween the busiest time of year for pet helplines. He cautioned that raisins, grapes and macadamia nuts are among other foods that can be harmful to dogs if they ingest enough of them.

Other symptoms of toxicity are lethargy, not defecating or straining to defecate, increased thirst and an elevated heart rate.

Dr. Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, said Halloween poses other stresses or dangers for pets, but candy is high among them.

“Halloween mishaps, unfortunately, do keep many veterinarians busy and unfortunately the most common issues are pets that ate Halloween candy, especially chocolate and-or xylitol containing candies,” she said. “Do NOT let your pets eat the treats.”

Is your dog extra sensitive to hot weather?

Is your dog extra sensitive to hot weather?


Hot summer weather can be ‘ruff’ on dogs who have thick fur coats, flat-faces, are obese or elderly. On hot, humid days, it’s best to keep pets inside with plenty of cold water. Outdoor exercise and walks are best in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. Bring water and take breaks in the shade. If the pavement is too hot to comfortably place your hand on for several seconds, it is too hot for your dog.

Some dogs don’t know their own limits – use caution with exercise such as running and fetch as you may need to stop your dog from overdoing it.

Here are a few types of dogs who need to be watched extra closely when venturing outdoors on those hot summer days.

Brachycephalic dogs

Dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads but release excess heat primarily by panting. Brachycephalic or flat-faced dog breeds have more difficulty taking in enough air to cool themselves down by panting. Flat-faced dogs such as pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, English bulldogs and shih tzus are more sensitive to heat because they suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). They have small nasal openings and long soft palates in the back of their mouths, which limits airflow. These types of dogs also have a narrower windpipe and have to work harder to take in enough air to keep themselves cool. Be sure to walk flat-faced dogs with a harness instead of a collar to ensure their airway is not constricted.

Note that Brachycephalic dogs are not great swimmers. A wading pool with a few inches of water should be enough to cool them down. For example, pugs need to tilt their faces up to breathe while swimming, which means they must paddle hard to stay afloat. Pekingese tire easily and have short legs. A life vest is necessary to avoid having these breeds get water up to their noses and drown.

Dogs with thick fur coats

A dog’s coat captures air and acts as an insulator trapping heat in the winter and deflecting heat in the summer. Never shave your dog. Shaving off their fur increases the likelihood of developing heatstroke, a sunburn and skin cancer. Brush a dog’s coat daily, keep their coat clean and take a dog to the groomer regularly. A fluffy, clean coat will do a better job of keeping the dog cool.

Dog breeds such as Labradors, huskies, shepherds and golden retrievers have a double coat. The shorter layer of fur insulates the dog and is shed regularly. The outer coat is made up of coarser, longer hairs that don’t shed as often. If these breeds are shaved their double coat can regrow improperly resulting in a patchy appearance, follicle damage and loss of the protection from the weather the coat provides.

The darker the dog’s fur the more heat it will absorb. Dogs with black fur are at a higher risk of overheating.

Overweight dogs

Dogs that are overweight or obese are more likely to develop a heat-related illness because of the increased insulation the fat cells provide and increased heat they generate from mild exercise.

Senior dogs

A dog is considered to be a senior over the age of five for large breeds such as a great dane. Smaller breeds such as Chihuahua’s generally live longer and are not considered to be seniors until about age eight. Senior dogs are more sensitive to temperature and may have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung diseases, which makes them more likely to develop heatstroke.


Puppies are not able to regulate their own body temperature as well as adult dogs and are high-energy. They tend to run and play and can easily overexert themselves outside on hot days.

Be part of our campaign to keep pets safe this summer. Pledge to not leave your pet in a hot car and get a free #NoHotPets car decal!

For more information visit The BC SPCA site

  • If you ordered our limited supply decal – take a picture of your brand new car decal and help us spread the word!
  • Use hashtag: #NoHotPets and tag on Twitter: @BC_SPCA or Facebook @bcspca or Instagram @bcspca.

Photo Credit: Nash the Pug  – ILSTV

Winnipeg HumaneSociety selects Petsecure as Exclusive Provider of Trial Pet Health Insurance

The Winnipeg Humane Society and Petsecure, a Canadian owned and operated pet insurance company, are proud to announce that they have an agreement to make Petsecure’s Adoptsecure program the exclusive provider of pet health insurance for Winnipeg Humane Society’s pet adopters.

The Adoptsecure program delivers a six-week complimentary trial insurance policy that provides pet owners with initial pet health insurance coverage valued at up to $500 after they adopt a dog or cat from participating shelters. Shelters also receive onsite support from a designated Petsecure Territory Manager.

“The WHS welcomes Petsecure to our team, and we look forward to working together by providing a free trial of pet insurance for anyone adopting a pet from our shelter,” says Winnipeg Humane Society CEO Javier Schwersensky. “Pet Insurance is an important aspect of ensuring that, in case of emergency, we have the peace of mind of knowing veterinary bills will be covered and the best treatment options can be pursued. With the Petsecure free trial that we can now offer with every adoption, you can learn more about how insurance works, plus have the extra peace of mind of rescuing an animal from our shelter without worrying about a sudden change in health condition.”

“We are excited to partner with Javier Schwersensky and his team at the Winnipeg Humane Society,” said Raegan Ahlbaum, AVP, Petline Operations of Petsecure. “The Winnipeg Humane Society has been helping animals for 125 years and adopts out more than 4,000 animals a year. Encouraging pet owners to see the value in pet health insurance allows us to provide ongoing humane care and protection.”

Petsecure offers different solutions to suit the unique needs of individual pets. The pet health insurance plans include coverage for veterinary visits, dental coverage as well as alternative and preventative care. Petsecure works to help protect pets and give owners peace of mind.

About Petsecure

Petsecure is the flagship brand of Petline Insurance Company, a Canadian owned and operated pet health insurance provider. Petsecure offers comprehensive pet insurance coverage options to pet owners in Canada. Underwritten by Petline Insurance Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Economical Insurance, Petsecure and logo are registered trademarks of Petline Insurance Company.

SOURCE Petsecure


The Ontario SPCA launches new SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance

STOUFFVILLE, Ontario, Jan. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society believes animals deserve the best care possible, which is why we have decided to relaunch our insurance program with the new SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance offered by Petplan®.

By partnering with a global leading pet insurance provider in Petplan, this will ensure pets get the best treatment they need when an unexpected illness or injury occurs. Not only will pet owners enjoy the peace of mind that they’re helping protect their four-legged friends, but they can also feel good knowing that a portion of proceeds go back to SPCA’s and Humane Societies, like the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society to help animals in need.

The coverage through the SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance offered by Petplan is as unique as pet owners and their pets and can be customized to fit their needs and budget. It also offers one of the most comprehensive coverages and shortest waiting periods in the industry.

Planning for unforeseen health issues and accidents can help alleviate the financial burden and stress when a pet needs medical attention, giving pet owners peace of mind. According to Petplan claims data, one in three pets makes an unplanned trip to the vet each year—and Canadian pet parents spent an average of $1,103 per pet on unexpected veterinary expenses last year alone!

“As a not-for-profit organization  focused on animal wellness, we encourage pet owners to have a plan in place to ensure they are able to provide the necessary care for their pet should the unexpected occur,” says Daryl Vaillancourt, Chief of Humane Programs & Community Outreach, Ontario SPCA. “One of the best ways pet owners can help their pets, and protect themselves from unexpected costs, is pet insurance.”

Petplan is the pet insurance that’s trusted by shelters and helps animals in need. To get a quote or to learn more about the new SPCA & Humane Society Pet Insurance offered by Petplan visit gopetplan.ca/spcahs.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is a registered charity, established in 1873. The Society and its network of animal welfare communities facilitate and provide for province-wide leadership on matters relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals and the promotion of animal well-being. Offering a variety of mission-based programs including community-based sheltering, animal wellness services, provincial animal transfers, shelter health & wellness, high-volume spay/neuter services, animal rescue, animal advocacy, Indigenous partnership programs and humane education, the Ontario SPCA is Ontario’s animal welfare charity.


Petplan has built an industry-leading pet insurance policy for pet parents who demand a higher pedigree of care for their best friends. We’ve leveraged 40 years of global experience to create completely customizable coverage pet parents can feel confident in, and world-class claims service — 24 hours a day, every day.

Petplan’s innovative approach to pet insurance has been recognized by Forbes, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Inc. magazine, Smart CEO, the Communicator Awards, Ernst & Young and many others.


Time to buy cattle price insurance

Market Update: Cow-calf producers should sell their feeders with the lofty futures and historically strong basis

By  | Grain News

Alberta packers were buying fed cattle in the range of $151 to $153 on a live basis in mid-October, up approximately $10 from a month earlier. While Alberta prices have been percolating higher, fed cattle values in Kansas have hovered around US$111 on a live basis over the past four weeks. Market-ready supplies of fed cattle in Western Canada appear to be tightening due to lower placements earlier in the spring. This has caused the Alberta fed cattle basis to strengthen.

Yearling prices continue to trade near 52-week highs. Medium- to larger-frame average-flesh 850-pound mixed steers were actively trading in the range of $203 to $210 in southern Alberta. Drier conditions throughout the summer caused cow-calf producers to market feeder cattle sooner than normal. This means available feeder cattle supplies in October and November are lower than anticipated.

U.S. cattle-on-feed inventories continue to run five to six per cent above year-ago levels. It appears fourth-quarter beef production will come in 200 million pounds above last year; similar year-over-year increases are expected in the first three quarters of 2019.

In Kansas, the fed cattle market has hovered around $111 on a live basis which is similar to the average price during October of 2017. The year-over-year increase in demand has offset the rise in production resulting in a similar price structure. Restaurant spending during October and November is expected to finish 10 per cent above last year while retail expenditures are projected to be up three to four per cent.

While the U.S. market has traded in a sideways range, Alberta fed cattle prices have been ratcheting higher through October. I want to draw attention to the placement by weight category during March and April. During March, placements in the 600- to 699-pound category were down 9,467 head from last year; during April, placements in the 700- to 799-pound category were down 11,379 head from April of 2017. This has resulted in lower market-ready supplies of fed cattle during October.

The Alberta and Saskatchewan cattle market has actually divorced from the U.S. for the time being. Basis levels for fed cattle are abnormally high due to the abnormal placement schedule during February through March. Secondly, strong fed-cattle prices in October have caused the feeder cattle basis to also reach historical highs.

Signal to sell

For cow-calf producers, a historically strong basis along with feeder cattle futures near 52-week highs is a signal to sell your feeder cattle. I also want to point out that the April live cattle futures have traded as high as $125 in early October. Over the past year, the live cattle futures have $101 and $130. The risk/reward suggests that there is more downside risk than upside, especially with the year-over-year increase in production.

Backgrounding operators will want to buy price insurance on calves immediately upon purchasing. The March feeder cattle futures reached a high of $155 earlier in October but have since dropped to $148. However, over the past couple of years, the high in the feeder cattle futures has been around $160 but the lows are around $130. It’s prudent to have price insurance this year given the year-over-year increase in the U.S. calf crop. Barley prices are also $50/mt above year-ago levels. The risk reward scenario suggests further downside moving into spring.

The abnormal placement structure during March and April has caused Alberta fed cattle basis to be abnormally strong for October. Feedlots currently have positive margins which has enhanced buying power for replacements. Many cow-calf operators marketed feeder cattle sooner than normal, therefore feeder cattle volumes during October and November are below year-ago levels in Western Canada. These two factors have contributed to the historically strong basis for feeder cattle.

Finally, the April 2019 live cattle futures are trading near 52-week highs which has also caused the November 2018 feeder cattle futures to also trade within the yearly high. Cow-calf producers should sell their feeders with the lofty feeder futures and historically strong basis.

The current environment is also telling backgrounding operators to buy price insurance on their feeder cattle. When you assess the risk/reward, we could see significant downside in the feeder market. The June live cattle futures are trading at a $7 discount to the April contract due to the sharp year-over-year increase in second-quarter beef production.

Introducing Peppermint: Refreshingly Simple Pet Insurance

Petline, the first and only licensed insurance company in Canada to focus solely on pet health insurance, is launching Peppermint, a new pet insurance solution that will help budget-conscious pet owners protect their pets. Peppermint launches today and is available to Canadian pet owners.

“We’re so excited to launch Peppermint to make quality pet insurance more accessible to Canadian pet owners,” said David Fitzpatrick, Vice-President of Petline. “Peppermint is an easy and affordable approach to loving pet care that will make a difference for our customers.”

A refreshingly simple approach

Now pet owners have the power to purchase insurance at a price point that fits their budget. Customers can choose from four different plans (Lite, Base, Plus, and Prime) that start with customized coverage levels for accidents and illness and include special coverage for alternative therapy, behavioural therapy, and medical devices. Pet lovers know that veterinary care isn’t optional. Peppermint offers four options for one reason – to empower the customer by presenting value solutions at a lower cost so they can keep their pets healthy without the financial burden of a ‘what if’.

Here to help

Customer care advocates are available to answer any questions potential customers have. Pet owners can reach the Peppermint team by phone at 1-833-678-6468, by email at hello@mypeppermint.ca or say hello on Facebook or Instagram.

About Petline Insurance Company

As the first and only licensed insurance company in Canada to focus solely on pet insurance, Petline Insurance Company is dedicated to responsible pet ownership. We help Canadian pets live longer and healthier lives by enabling their owners to provide the best in pet health care. Our core brand is Petsecure pet health insurance. We also underwrite Pet Insurance for Hudson’s Bay customers, Desjardins Pet Insurance Program, The Personal Pet Insurance Program, OVMA Pet Health Insurance, Nova Scotia SPCA Pet Health Insurance, Toronto Humane Society Pet Health Insurance and CAA pet insurance. Petline is a member of the Economical Insurance group of companies and includes: Economical Mutual Insurance, Family Insurance Solutions Inc. and Sonnet Insurance Company.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

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