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BC SPCA warns about fall toxins like anti-freeze, pumpkin spice

Just because humans can eat some things doesn't mean pets can.
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Pets shouldn't eat substances like chocolate, compost and antifreeze, according to the BC SPCA.

The BC SPCA is warning about five different items toxic for pets which they're more likely to encounter right now.

The items are all seasonal items that become more common during the autumn around homes in B.C.

Humans know not to drink antifreeze, but pets don't, and even a small amount of spilled antifreeze can be deadly. For a cat a single tablespoon could be fatal, while for most dogs two tablespoons would be enough.

"Keep your pets far away from antifreeze and clean up any spills of antifreeze on driveways and other hard surfaces," advises the BC SPCA in a press release. "If you see your pet drinking antifreeze, or are at all suspicious that your pet may have had access to antifreeze, contact a veterinarian immediately."

While candles can provide a pleasant ambiance as the sun sets earlier, scented candles can be poisonous for animals.

"For example, fragrances and/or oil can aggravate existing respiratory illnesses like asthma in your pets due to harmful toxins, such as naphthalene or phthalates," notes the BC SPCA.

They suggest vegetable or plant-based wax. It's also smart to keep the candles away from where animals would reach it, which could be difficult for anyone with an acrobatic cat.

As much fun as it is to watch a dog leap into a pile of leaves, it's also important to watch to make sure they don't eat anything, especially if it's got old leaves.

"If your dog ingests compost, it can result in poisoning since decaying organic matter and molding food products can contain ‘tremorgenic mycotoxins,’ which cause tremors. Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures," the BC SPCA warns, suggesting dogs should be kept away from mulch and compost completely.

For many people there are certain flavours and snacks that come with the changing of the leaves. For pets, some of those foods can be harmful. Chocoloate is a well known toxin for furry friends; it's because it has caffeine and theobromine in it. In both cases humans bodies can deal with these chemicals, but cats and dogs can't.

For those purchasing sugar-free candy, there's also the risk of dogs ingesting xylitol, which causes their body to release too much inulin and can cause liver damage.

One of the most iconic flavours of the season may also be toxic for pets. Pumpkin spice is a combination of spices, and those can be bad for pets. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves all have naturally occurring toxins to pets.

"For example, while not toxic in small amounts, a large spoonful of dry cinnamon powder could cause respiratory issues for your pet and, cinnamon oil can be toxic even in small amounts," explains the BC SPCA. "Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin, and though it is not likely to be toxic in small doses, if your pet ingests a very large amount of powder or eats an entire nut, it could cause vomiting, abdominal pain, changes to blood pressure and heart rate and even disorientation, seizures or hallucinations.

"Likewise, the ingestion of cloves becomes an issue with something like clove oil or the ingestion of whole cloves. Clove oil as well as the clove spice contain compounds called eugenols which can cause liver toxicity in cats. Clove oil may also cause vomiting, tremors or seizures and staggering in cats."

They also note that items with pumpkin spice in them can also contain other things also bad for a pet, like a pumpkin spice latte, in addition to the spices, will also have caffeine.

If your pet has consumed any of these items the BC SPCA suggests contacting a veterinarian immediately.