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Does your dog eat Halloween candy? Here’s what to do

dog eat Halloween candy

Forget about witches and zombies; one of the scariest items that comes to a dog parent’s home on Halloween may be a seemingly harmless bag of candy. During the week of Halloween, calls to the Pet Poison Hotline rise by twelve percent, making it the busiest time of the year in the centre.

We all know that chocolate can be fatal to dogs, and other additives in sweets can also cause significant health problems for our pups, such as excessive levels of sugar and fat. If a candy is sugar-free, it can contain a sugar substitute known as xylitol, which even in small quantities, is highly poisonous and deadly to dogs. And what do you do if you find Fido in his wake with crinkled, half chewed chocolate wrappers? When your dog eats Halloween treats, here’s what you can do.

Find Out What Kind of Candy and How Much Your Dog Ate

Halloween Candy

Given all of the ripped up wrappers, this can seem like a daunting job. Finding out what your dog ate and how much will help decide what your pooch wants to care for however. The compound in chocolate, which is poisonous to dogs, has varying amounts of theobromine in various chocolates.

For dogs, baking chocolate is the worst, clocking in at around 450 milligrams per ounce, followed by dark chocolate at 160 mg/oz; milk chocolate at 64 mg/oz; and 1 mg/oz of white chocolate. If your dog has eaten approximately 20 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight or more, they are in the danger zone of poisoning.

This is how the equation looks:
(Amount of chocolate x amount of theobromine for the chocolate type) / Dog weight = level of toxicity
So for example, the equation for a 30 pound dog who eats 8 ounces of milk chocolate is:
(8 oz of chocolate x 64 mg of theobromine per oz.) / 30 lbs. = 17.1 mg per lb of body weight. If you have calculated that your dog is close to this stage, get them as soon as possible to the emergency vet.

Keep a close eye on them for further signs if your dog is on the lower end, say ten and under. Even if they just eat a little bit of chocolate, call your vet to make sure that, considering their needs, you are taking the right measures for your particular dog.

Know the Symptoms

dog eating halloween candy

Not to add more spookiness to this story, but some chocolate or other candies may be eaten out of your sight by your dog, and you may not be able to measure their degree of toxicity. Knowing the symptoms in your dog of chocolate or other poisoning will help you and your doctor decide what the best course of action is.
Signs of ingestion and likely toxicity of chocolate include:

  • Agitation
  • Diarrhea
  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • in severe cases, seizures
  • increased thirst

It doesn’t mean they’re in the clear just because they didn’t eat chocolate

When it comes to what kind of sweets they want their noses to get into, dogs are indiscriminate. Pancreatitis in dogs can result in large binge-eating sessions of foods high in fat and sugar. For your dog, this is an extremely traumatic experience which can lead to even more problems, including kidney failure or other damage to the organ.

Unfortunately, for two to four days after the candy binge, the more serious pancreatitis signs might not appear. If you think Fido has gotten into something extra sugary, and call your doctor, keep your eyes open for stomach pain that comes along with a gentle belly rub, vomiting, diarrhea, and a seriously reduced appetite.

The Best Measure Is Preventative

dog eat Halloween candy

It might be frightening to think that a little bit of candy will do your beloved dog that much harm, but it’s comforting that this can be prevented most of the time.

Keep the bowl up in a high position where your dog can not reach it or knock it down while you’re handing out Halloween candy. Be sure to clarify to them the seriousness of not feeding your dog any treats and keeping it out of the dog’s reach if you have kids who are trick-or-treating. Keep the garbage on lock, too so that your pooch does not dig into a bunch of wrappers, which can cause significant indigestion as well.

Be sure to give your pup plenty of exercise and a nice meal on days with heavy candy traffic, so they’ll be happier rather than sniffing around for some eats curiously. The secret is prevention.

Be sure to contact your vet with any pet specific questions you might have, as with any dog medical issue or possible emergency. Look for your area’s nearest emergency vet and have their number on hand, not only for candy overindulgence, but for any other emergencies that might arise in the future.

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