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When Your Pet Eats Halloween Candy

A photo of a Bulldog chews on a pumpkin which is a good alternative to candy
Published on: October 18, 2017

Candy, Candy Everyhere!

It’s that time of year again. Cool fall weather, pumpkin spice everything and of course, Halloween! It’s a blast for the whole family to get their costumes together, bundle up and go collect some candy. You can even dress your dog up to trick-or-treat with you. And nothing says success like a big, bulging bag fully of sugary sweets! However, a lot of the Halloween treats we love can be dangerous for our pets. We’ve put together a helpful guide to keep your companion animals safe through the holidays.

Chocolate

A photo of a bowl of Halloween candy bars, including Twix, M&Ms and SnickersIt’s pretty common knowledge these days that chocolate is bad for dogs and cats. Specifically, the caffeine and theobromine which can vary by brand or type of chocolate. Typically the darker and more bitter it is, the greater the danger. In addition to the toxins in chocolate, it’s high in fats and sugars, which aren’t good for your pet’s health. The best way to keep your pet safe is to keep all chocolate away from them. If your pet does eat a candy bar, watch for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, muscle rigidity, rapid breathing or seizures. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680 or your veterinarian immediately if you’re concerned about something your pet ate or if they exhibit these symptoms. PetMD has more info on the dangers of chocolate toxicity as well as a chocolate toxicity meter for dogs.

Xylitol

A photo of Halloween shaped gummy candies.A lot of candies, gum and mints plus items like low fat peanut butter are sweetened with Xylitol as a sugar-free alternative. According to Pet Poison hotline, “In dogs, smaller ingestions can cause an acute, life-threatening low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within 10 – 15 minutes. Larger ingestions can result in acute liver necrosis and liver failure”. Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning can include weakness, vomiting, seizures, black-tarry stool and coma. If you think your pet has eaten something containing Xylitol or has any of these symptoms, contact the Pet Poison Hotline and your regular veterinarian immediately.

Raisins

A photo of a bowl full of raisins.Some households will give out little boxes of raisins as a healthy alternative to candy. While perfectly fine for your child, they’re not so great for your pet. According to VetStreet, grapes and raisins can cause sudden kidney failure in both cats and dogs. It’s not fully understood what the toxic agents in grapes and raisins are, but it’s safest to keep them away from your pets. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration and tremors or shivering. Not all pets have immediate reactions to eating raisins, so if you suspect your pet has eaten some, contact your veterinarian.

Wrapped and Other Candies

A photo of foil-wrapped candies and hard candies.Even if a candy doesn’t have chocolate, xylitol or raisins in it, it’s still best to keep it away from your pet. You may not be sure what the ingredients are and don’t want to risk harm to your cat or dog. Anything with a lot of sugar can be bad for your dog’s tummy and teeth, just like people. Candy that comes in plastic or foil wrappers can cause irritation or obstructions in the intestines. Any small hard candy poses a choking hazard to an overzealous pet who think’s they found something tasty. When you come home after a night of trick or treating, make sure to put all the candy in a safe, secure place that your dog or cat can’t reach.

What You Can Give Your Pet

A photo of Wag N' Wash's Halloween themed bakery biscuits and cakes.Stick to treats made specifically for pets to ensure all ingredients are safe. Some fresh fruits like blueberries and pumpkin are great treat choices. If you want an extra special Halloween themed treat for your pet, then look no further than the bakery at your locally owned and operated Wag N’ Wash! We have all natural treats made with human-grade ingredients that can be handed out to neighborhood dogs as well as given to your own! Ask one of our bakers about customized cookies and cakes for your holiday themed parties, too!

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