Dangerous Halloween Candy for Dogs

Halloween is the season for costumes, candy, and spooky fun. But for our beloved pets, it can be a time of unexpected dangers, particularly when it comes to the tantalizing assortment of candy and treats that are readily available. Just like in a thrilling game of trick-or-treat, there are specific candies that can turn into dangerous tricks for your pets. Thanks to dangerous Halloween candy, The Pet Poison Hotline sees a surge in calls around Halloween, making it the busiest time of the year for the center.

So if you’ve been wondering “Can dogs eat candy?” or if you’re wondering what to do if your dog eats candy this Halloween, we’ve got some Halloween pet safety tips for you. Let’s go over dangerous halloween candy for dogs, and the steps you can take to safeguard your four-legged family members.

Dangerous Halloween Candy for Dogs 

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A well-known Halloween indulgence, many pet parents are aware that chocolate can be toxic for dogs. Chocolate is packed with theobromine and caffeine, dogs are not able to metabolize these chemicals as well as humans can, so both can be highly toxic to dogs. 

Caffeine and Theobromine are types of stimulants that:

  • Increases heart rate
  • Dilates blood vessels
  • Stimulates the heart
  • Have diuretic properties

The dangers of chocolate consumption in dogs can depend on the type and quantity of chocolate. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it becomes. The higher the amount of cacao (like dark chocolate, baking chocolate, cocoa powder, and cacao nibs), the higher the risk of ill health effects.

It’s not just the type of chocolate that matters; how much they ingested and your dog’s size are also important factors. This information will help you decide how serious the situation may be, and will also help your vet determine the most suitable course of action. 

The indications of chocolate poisoning can differ between dogs, depending on your dog’s size, weight, and the type and quantity of chocolate ingested. It’s important to note that the symptoms might not be obvious immediately; they could take several hours to develop. 

Milder symptoms of a dog with chocolate toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Increased thirst 
  • Excessive Urination
  • Rapid heart rate

Some dogs will go on to show more severe signs, including muscle tremors, seizures, heart failure, and in extreme cases even death. While chocolate is not usually fatal (since most candies are made with milk chocolate or low potency dark chocolate) it still is a good idea to take a trip to your veterinarian if your dog ate chocolate. 

Chocolate is rich in fat and sugar, which can cause serious gastric upset like pancreatitis in dogs with more sensitive GI systems. In addition, theobromine has a long half-life (the time it remains in the bloodstream), so taking your pet to the vet for monitoring and fluids is a really good idea. 

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

If your dog ate halloween candy that did not contain chocolate, chances are it did still contain sugar and/or artificial sweeteners, most notably xylitol (also labeled as birch sugar, wood sugar, birch bark extract). Xylitol is much more dangerous than chocolate for dogs. 

If your dog ate edibles containing xylitol, this is grounds for going to the vet IMMEDIATELY. 

This sugar substitute can be found in many sugar-free candies, gum, breath mints and other sugar-free treats. It is found in a wide variety of sweets due to its low glycemic index, low calories, and its dental health benefits. 

However, even a small amount can lead to a dramatic release of insulin in your pet, causing severe problems. This swift insulin surge can lead to a significant and quick drop in blood sugar levels (known as hypoglycemia), which can occur 10-60 minutes after ingesting xylitol. If left untreated, this hypoglycemia can become life-threatening

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy/Decreased activity 
  • Staggering and incoordination
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

If you must consume xylitol and you own pets, keep any substance containing it under lock and key. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline, a 24/7 animal poison control center, at 1-800-213-6680 immediately.

Can Dogs Eat Candy Corn?

Some people love candy corn on halloween, while others only love to hate candy corn! This may lead pet parents to wonder ‘Can dogs eat candy corn?’ However, this is a debate that you should leave your dog out of. This dangerous halloween candy typically is made with Xylitol, and as we’ve learned, xylitol can be incredibly dangerous for pets. 

Although not all brands of candy corn contain xylitol, the most effective way to guarantee your pet’s safety is by implementing a complete ban on this treat and all its variations in your home. Every Halloween, candy corn can pose a huge danger for pets both in the home and outside, as it is so often found in candy dishes, trick or treat bags, or, in your dog’s case, potentially in the trash or on the sidewalk.

Additionally, even if you confirm that your candy corn is xylitol-free, it remains an unsafe choice for your furry companion. Other ingredients, like sugar, corn syrup, and oils, can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Can Dogs Eat Gummies?

While typical gummies like gummy bears aren’t toxic for dogs, they are loaded with a very high sugar content. Sugar isn’t directly toxic for dogs and typically it’s not life or death if they sneak a few gummy bears, however it can lead to various issues when eaten frequently or in significant quantities. In smaller dog breeds or puppies, it’s even more probable to lead to an upset stomach or gastroenteritis.

In certain situations, dogs can experience such severe gastrointestinal distress from sugar intake that they become profoundly dehydrated, to the point they need hospitalization. Because of this, it’s best to reconsider offering gummy bears, gummy candies, or fruit snacks to your dogs. 

Something to be extremely cautious of are the sugar-free versions of gummy candies. These gummies most likely contain artificial sweeteners like Xylitol, which, as discussed earlier, is extremely toxic and dangerous to dogs.

Grape & Raisin Toxicity in Dogs

While most houses hand out candy on Halloween, some more health-conscious homes may hand out boxes of raisins, or perhaps trail mix with nuts and dried fruits. While these might be great healthy snacks for people, unfortunately grapes, raisins and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. 

Regrettably, there’s no firmly established toxic threshold for any of these fruits. There seems to be a level of ‘individual’ sensitivity among dogs. While the precise reason isn’t clear, for some dogs, even a single raisin or grape can lead to severe illness, potentially resulting in kidney disease or, in the worst cases, fatality.

On Halloween, chocolate-covered raisins present a double threat to our pets: the toxicity of chocolate and raisins in one dangerous halloween candy. Symptoms might closely resemble those of chocolate toxicity but often center around excessive thirst and urination, reduced appetite, vomiting, and lethargy. If your dog has ingested any quantity of raisins or grapes, including chocolate-covered raisins, it’s crucial to promptly have them examined by a veterinarian.

Symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

More severe signs are not seen for 24-48 hours after ingestion – often after acute kidney damage has already begun. Signs of acute kidney failure include:

  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Breath smells like ammonia
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

While some nuts can be beneficial for dogs, other nuts can be toxic for dogs. Macadamia nuts, black walnuts, and moldy walnuts can be very toxic for dogs. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, inability to walk, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. Symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of ingestion. Black walnuts, as well as old and moldy walnuts, can cause vomiting, neurological symptoms, tremors and seizures. 

Some nuts, while not considered toxic for dogs, should still be avoided. Raw cashews, pistachios, hickory nuts, pecans, almonds, and brazil nuts are all nuts to avoid for dogs and pets. Many of these are harder to digest raw for dogs, and can be a choking hazard, or cause intestinal blockages, particularly in smaller dogs and cats. Some of these also have a tendency to mold, and even a small amount of mold can cause seizures and nerve damage in dogs. 

If you know your pet has consumed nuts and you see any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation and bloating
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty walking or weakness in legs
  • Seizures
  • Bloody stool – may appear black like tar
  • Orange-colored urine

Hard Candies & Lollipops

First, as we covered, some sugar-free hard candies and lollipops may contain xylitol, which is highly toxic for dogs. 

Beyond that, hard candies and lollipops can pose a choking hazard for pets, as slippery candy can easily be inhaled into the windpipe. Hard candies can also cause an obstruction if several candies stick together inside your pet. 

If your dog eats one or two candies (without xylitol) then there shouldn’t be too much cause for concern, but pets who’ve gotten into more than that can be in for a more difficult ride. 

If you’re concerned about your pet eating hard candies, gather any candy wrappers and call your vet right away. Be ready to share your dog’s weight, what types of hard candy might have been eaten, and how many may have been ingested. 

Protecting your Pet from Dangerous Halloween Candy

First, it’s best to not have any candy or treats made with xylitol in the house at all. As it’s one of the most dangerous ingredients for dogs, best to avoid any risks and simply not keep any xylitol products in your home.

Next, secure the candy stash! Keep all your candy well out of reach of your pets. Remember, their noses are incredibly keen, and they may go to great lengths to find the source of that mouthwatering scent! 

If your pet does manage to get into the candy stash, it’s important to try to determine exactly what they ate and how much. This information can be vital for your vet. Keep any candy wrappers you find near them, to better track how much they may have eaten and what ingredients are in the potentially dangerous halloween candy.

Be aware of potential signs of poisoning in dogs, including vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, seizures, tremors, and more. 

Pet-Safe Halloween Treats

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One great option is Blanche’s Edibles: CBD dog treats. These nutritious dog treats are crafted with real whole food ingredients and infused with our proprietary CBD oil, for your dog’s best health. These organic, vegan, human-grade cookies are crafted with love by our friends at CoCoTherapy featuring pure coconut oil from their family farm in the Philippines.

These low-calorie, hypoallergenic, grain and gluten-free, vegan CBD edibles for dogs are infused with our proprietary full spectrum hemp extract in the heart of Colorado. Each vegan CBD treat is individually sprayed with the exact milligrams of full spectrum hemp extract, to ensure your pet gets a consistent and reliable CBD dosage in every tasty bite.

Halloween can be a stressful day for your pets, and calming CBD can help them stay stress-free and comfortable. Treat your furry friends to the calming benefits of CBD for pets this halloween, with our Trick or Treat Bundle. With our Calm CBD oil for keeping your pets calm around all of Halloween’s tricks, and Blanche’s Edibles for a nutritious and delicious CBD-infused halloween treat! The best CBD for halloween pet anxiety, bundled together for better savings.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Halloween candy can be a tempting yet perilous delight for our pets. By staying vigilant, following some Halloween Pet Safety Tips, offering alternative treats to dangerous halloween candy for dogs, like Blanche’s Edibles, and acting swiftly if your pet does get into candy, you can ensure a happy and hazard-free Halloween for your furry family members!