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Pumpkin Spice: Not So Nice

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It’s Pumpkin Spice season! Lattes, beers, baked goods, ice creams, snack foods, syrups, and more! While it’s okay for humans to go on a pumpkin spice craze, we ask that you refrain from having your pets join. Always use caution before giving your pets anything not approved by your family veterinarian.

Here are a few reasons why we disapprove of pumpkin spice everything for your pets this fall!

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1. Pumpkins

Pumpkins are not considered toxic to pets. In fact, 100% pure pumpkin may have health benefits for your pets. If your pet eats pumpkin, it causes stomach upset, especially diarrhea. This is why pumpkin is recommended for constipated pets. Before you give your pet pumpkin anything, talk to your family veterinarian.

Side note: When purchasing canned pumpkin for your homemade dog treats, make sure it is pure! Check the label for 100% pure canned pumpkin and be sure there are no spices or xylitol in the ingredients!

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2.  Spices

  • Cinnamon
    • If your pet eats a dash of cinnamon, it won’t harm him. If your pet eats a large quantity of cinnamon, however, it could be dangerous. Also, if your pet inhales cinnamon powder, it can cause coughing, choking, difficulty breathing, and bronchospasm.
    • Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, lowered blood sugar, irritation of the mouth and lungs, changes in heart rate, and liver issues.
  • Nutmeg
    • Nutmeg contains a toxin called Myristicin. Therefore, nutmeg is very toxic to pets. Seek veterinary help immediately if your pet eats nutmeg.
    • Symptoms: Hallucinations, disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth, abdominal pain, and possibly seizures. Symptoms can last up to 48 hours.
  • Cloves and Allspice
    • These ingredients contain eugenol which is toxic to pets. Eugenol is also found in essential oils. Eugenol may cause an allergic reaction if the oil form is applied to your pet.
    • Symptoms: Vomiting, numbness, walking “drunk”. Liver toxicity in cats.
  • Ginger
    • Ginger is not considered toxic. Sometimes, ginger is given to dogs to prevent nausea. Dried ginger root can cause diarrhea. If you plan to give your pets ginger, only do so in small amounts and not too often! Talk to your family veterinarian before you feed your pet any ginger.
    • Symptoms: Stomach upset and lethargy.

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3. Baked Goods

Pumpkin baked goods may contain other toxic items such as xylitol (a sugarless sweetener), raisins, currants, macadamia nuts, or chocolate. Fatty foods liked baked goods may cause stomach upset and pancreatitis.

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4. Dairy

Pets are lactose-intolerant and they can also have dairy allergies. Yogurts, ice cream, and other milk-based foods can cause stomach upset in pets. While a small amount of vanilla ice cream or yogurt mixed into a homemade treat is usually safe, refrain from giving your pets large amounts of any dairy product. When in doubt, ask your family vet.

5.  Caffeine

Don’t leave your half-empty mug on the coffee table! Lattes and other coffeehouse beverages contain caffeine which is toxic to pets; caffeine contains theobromine which is also toxic to pets. It affects their heart, stomach, intestines, and nervous system.

Symptoms: Restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, excessive panting, increased heart rate, increase blood pressure, and seizures.

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6. Alcohol

Pumpkin spice beers and other alcohol should always be considered toxic to pets. Even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous to our fur babies. Alcohol can cause drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Pets that consume alcohol often experience seizures and respiratory failure. Please don’t leave your drink unattended when there are pets around!

If you really want your pets to participate in the pumpkin spice life, consider a homemade, pet-friendly pumpkin treat recipe or a pumpkin-flavored treat from the pet store. When in doubt about the ingredients in an item, please call your family veterinarian, local animal emergency hospital, or ASPCA Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435. It’s better to be safe than sorry! We hope you and your pets have a wonderful autumn season, free of any pumpkin spice emergency room visits!

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