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Keep Your Pets Safe This Halloween

No matter how much they beg, your dog should not get treats out of the Halloween candy bowl. Generally, it isn’t a good idea to share any candy with your pet for several reasons. Some types of candy (such as dark chocolate and those containing xylitol) can make your dog very ill and can even be fatal. Others are likely to cause an upset stomach.

Sweets are not good for dogs and can contribute to many health problems, including obesity. If you believe your dog has eaten some candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

Chocolate: Chocolate is one of the more common causes for concern, particularly since it is widely available and smells tempting to our canine friends. Eating chocolate can cause an array of concerns for dogs, depending on the type and amount of chocolate eaten. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is; milk chocolate is safer than semi-sweet, which is less toxic than dark, which is less toxic than baker’s chocolate.

What makes chocolate toxic to dogs but not people?

Chocolate contains several active chemicals, including theobromine and caffeine. Dogs are not designed to metabolize these as well as humans, meaning that these chemicals are far more powerful in dogs.

Signs of chocolate toxicity vary from dog to dog, depending in part on the type and amount of chocolate eaten. The symptoms may take several hours to develop, so don’t assume that just because your dog looks and acts normally, all is well.

In minor cases, a dog with chocolate toxicity may only show:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Urination
  • High heart rate

Some dogs will go on to show more severe signs, including muscle tremors, seizures, heart failure, and death.

Even if your dog has eaten a small amount of milk chocolate, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Keeping Pets Safe During Halloween

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment. Be sure to keep all candy up and out of reach of your pets. It is safest to simply not have anything highly toxic to your pet in the house. So don’t buy dark chocolate or xylitol candy to have at home. Remember, there are all kinds of pet-safe recipes that you can make if you really want to share Halloween treats with your pets.