Trick-or-treating is one of the best parts of Halloween week, along with cute costumes, pumpkin spice lattes and horror movies. But if you’ve got a dog, that Halloween candy stash could be extremely toxic. Keep reading to learn what to do if your dog eats Halloween candy and is showing symptoms such as panting, diarrhea, agitation or abdominal pain. Dog owners can also learn more about how to protect their pet’s health at Halloween and which types of candy are worst for dogs’ health.
Most Dangerous Halloween Treats for Dogs
As a pet parent, it’s your job to be super-careful about what’s accessible to your pet, because dogs generally love food and some will try to eat anything in sight. If your dog ate any of the items mentioned below, getting help should be easy.
Chocolate — especially dark and unsweetened baking chocolate — is one of the most dangerous substances your dog can eat, especially if it’s a small breed. It contains a chemical called theobromine which can be deadly to dogs.
Any type of candy is harmful to dogs, including gummy candies, candy corn, hard candies and all sugary snacks. Sugar isn’t permitted in a dog’s diet, and candy overindulgence can lead to a range of health issues.
Candy wrappers are a choking hazard. Be sure to have someone on cleanup duty at Halloween parties with dogs present, especially if young kids are around.
Xylitol (Bubble Gum)
Xylitol causes dogs’ blood sugar to drop to dangerous levels and can even lead to organ failure. Sugar-free candy, gum, toothpaste and other diet foods might contain xylitol.
Raisins and Grapes
While some fruits and veggies are fine for dogs in moderation, grapes and raisins can be extremely dangerous for dogs, and eating them can lead to kidney issues.
What Pet Parents Should Do If Their Dog Eats Chocolate or Other Candies
Keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that determine how badly your dog will be affected if it eats candy. For example, eating all the candy is a bigger worry than one piece. Likewise, you should take into consideration your dog’s body weight in relation to how much they’ve consumed.
The first step is to find out what your dog ate and how much. If you suspect the levels were toxic or it’s eaten a candy wrapper, head to an emergency clinic ASAP.
1. Toxic Level of Chocolate Ingestion by Your Dog’s Weight
Theobromine is the toxic ingredient in chocolate, and there are varying amounts in different types. Use the information below as a guideline to help you determine the potential risk of poisoning based on the amount of chocolate your dog ate:
- Baking chocolate: 0.5 oz per 10 lbs
- Dark chocolate: 1.5 oz per 10 lbs
- Milk chocolate: 3.5 oz per 10 lbs
- White chocolate: 4.9 oz per 10 lbs
If you’re not sure of the amount, your dog ate less than the amount mentioned above or it consumed another candy from the list, move on to step two.
2. Call the Pet Poison Hotline
The Animal Poison Control helpline is open around the clock, 365 days a year. If you’re worried that your dog has swallowed Halloween candy, call (888) 426-4435 immediately.
3. Seek Emergency Care if Your Dog Ate Candy and You’re Worried
If your dog is acting in any way that concerns you, take it to the vet or emergency vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Health Risks When a Dog Eats Halloween Candy
Food poisoning can be treated by a vet as long as you act quickly and seek help as soon as possible. Failing to act quickly after your dog shows symptoms such as vomiting, confusion, tremors, seizures or excessive diarrhea could lead to further health complications — or worse. Health risks include:
- Extremely low blood sugar could lead to liver failure
- Sweet snacks can cause kidney failure
How to Stop Your Dog Eating Candy
If you live in the Eastern U.S. and want to take preventive measures to stop your dog eating candy, why not take a training course? There are two courses in particular that could help:
- Dog obedience training: People can give their pets mixed signals without realizing it, and obedience training teaches you how to consistently communicate with your dog in a way it can understand. In case your dog gets near the candy, a simple command will stop it in its tracks.
- Behavior modification: If you know your dog is a hazard around candy, consider training it to eliminate specific behaviors.
Call The Dog Wizard, the number one dog training for owners and pet parents at (877) 585-9727 today for more information. We have 36 locations across the eastern side of the United States.