It’s Halloween – the little ghosts and ghouls are out, your pumpkins are eerily flickering on your porch, and your doorbell has just rung, announcing the arrival of more giggling trick-or-treaters. You head to the kitchen to restock your bowl with candy bars….and find nothing but a few wrappers scattered on the floor and one naughty Poodle licking their lips in apparent delight.
Ack! What now?
Rest assured, dog lovers – you’re not alone. Hundreds of dogs find their way into Halloween candy stashes each year, and most of them make a quick recovery. Even so, candy and chocolate ingestion by our furry friends needs to be taken seriously; some ingredients in candy can be dangerous or even deadly to our dogs. Here are some of the hazards to be aware of.
- Chocolate contains the toxic ingredients caffeine and theobromine. While dark chocolate and baking chocolate are more dangerous to your pup than milk or white chocolate, it’s still a good idea to keep these out of reach. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate your pet has eaten, their symptoms could range from a simple upset tummy to life-threatening issues like seizures, increased heart rate and muscle tremors.
- Sugar-free candy and gum can contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol; although it’s safe for humans, it can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels and liver damage in our furry friends, which could begin to happen as soon as 10 minutes after your pup eats it, but could also be delayed up to a few days.
- Hard candy, gumballs, and tootsie rolls are all difficult for your dog to chew, so they pose quite the choking hazard for your pup; unfortunately, these candies are just the right size to travel down their windpipe.
Because many pet owners are preoccupied on spooky nights like these, you may not notice that your pooch has actually eaten anything until hours later. Signs that might tell tip you off to a canine candy thief could include:
It’s really important to give your veterinarian a call right away if you suspect that your Poodle has gotten into the Halloween candy, even if it was just a piece or two and they seem ok. If your pup isn’t showing any symptoms, then you might be told to just watch them carefully at home. If they’ve eaten something with xylitol in it, or are showing any symptoms like the ones listed above, however, then it’s time to take off your Dracula cape, blow out the pumpkin candle, and head to your vet right away with your Poodle in tow. To prevent candy-related emergencies and protect your pup during the holiday, keep unused candy locked safely out of reach, put your dog in a kennel or room away from where you’re handing out treats, and don’t let anyone give them people food without asking you first. Have a happy Howl-O-Ween!