It is that spooky time of the year again when there is an endless supply of candy baskets. Your furry friend may watch you with pleading eyes as you unwrap that chocolate bar and want a bite, but do not fall into that trap. It is not just kids who should stay clear from candy, but your pets too. Halloween candy is harmful to your pets and can be highly toxic to your dog’s health. Your candy stash may be very tempting for your pet to consume, so the best thing is to keep it out of their reach to avoid potential hazards. Here are toxic candies you should keep away from your pets:
Chocolate is unhealthy for dogs, and even a tiny piece can cause much damage to your pets. It contains compounds known as methylxanthines, namely caffeine and theobromine, which dogs are more sensitive to than humans. Animals process them slower than humans making the effects more severe. These compounds are toxic to pets because they stimulate the nervous and cardiovascular systems, leading to seizures, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, arrhythmias, vomiting, dehydration, excessive panting, and in severe cases, death. This depends on the amount consumed, the size of the dog, and the type of chocolate.
All chocolates contain Methylxanthines in different amounts. White chocolate has lower parts than milk chocolate. While dark, semi-sweet, and bitter chocolate contains more quantities and is the most toxic to pets. Basically, the darker and bitter the chocolate is, the more harmful it is. Large breed dogs can ingest more chocolate than smaller breeds, who immediately suffer.
Cats can also be affected if they consume candy and chocolate with milk leading to diarrhea or an upset stomach. Unknown to many, cats are lactose intolerant since their digestive system cannot process dairy. It would be best to avoid giving your cat chocolates or candy that contains milk to protect their gut.
Grapes and Raisins
For unknown reasons, grapes, sultanas, and raisins are unsuitable for pets. They can cause severe health issues, especially in dogs; they can cause kidney failure. Even consuming a small amount can make your dog very ill. If your dog has consumed raisins or grapes, it may exhibit lethargy, vomiting, nausea, and decreased appetite.
Candy Corn and Very Sugary Treats
Highly sugary snacks like caramel and candy corn can lead to severe stomach upsets, diarrhea, and severe gas in your furry friend. The high sugar content also feeds gut bacteria and might pull water from your pet’s colon leading to severe diarrhea.
The very sugary treats can also result in pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas that leads to severe vomiting and diarrhea. Pancreatitis is a fatal condition and may take time to manifest, taking between two to four days before symptoms show. It is essential to keep an eye on your pet if you suspect they have consumed candy or, better yet, take them to the vet to get rid of doubt.
If your dog sneaks away with Halloween candy and ingests the wrapper, it could lead to severe problems in its digestive system. Eating foil and plastic wrappers can lead to bowel obstruction and gastrointestinal (GI) tract irritation. Sometimes your pet may be lucky enough to pass the wrapper through their stool, but if they aren’t fortunate enough, it may lead to surgery. If your pet has swallowed a plastic wrapper, look out for symptoms like vomiting, decreased appetite, and difficulty defecating.
Bite-size Hard Candy
These sugary, hard treats pose a choking hazard for your dear pet. When mixed with saliva, hard candy becomes slick or slippery and can be easily inhaled into the windpipe (trachea), leading to choking. Dogs find these treats delicious, so keep them out of reach, including your feline friend.
This is a popular low-calorie or “sugar-free” sweetener or substitutes commonly found in sugar-free candy, gum, mints, gummy vitamins, some brands of peanut butter, cough drops, baked goods, and other household products. It is also known as Birch sugar. Xylitol is safe for human consumption but can be toxic if ingested by your canine friend. Eating foods or candy with xylitol can cause a severe drop in blood sugar minutes after consumption. This causes symptoms such as lethargy, hypoglycemia, vomiting, collapse, yellow mucus membranes, black-tarry stool, difficulty walking, and seizure activity.
Dogs that survive the initial symptoms are left with liver damage and, in severe cases, fatal liver failure. This is the most dangerous Halloween candy for your dog to ingest. Be cautious about any candy containing xylitol or sugar-free candy, no matter the amount indicated on the candy label. Cats can be affected differently than dogs; though the effects are not well known, it is better not to risk them.
Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. They can be hidden in nut fillings, cookies, or chocolates. When consumed, they can cause depression, vomiting, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, fever (103 to 105F), weakness in the hind legs, and tremors. The symptoms can develop within 3 to 12 hours and persist for 2 to 3 days after ingestion.
Macadamia nuts are high in fat, can overstimulate the pancreas, and may cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Pancreatitis causes vomiting, severe abdominal pain, reduced appetite, and depression. In extreme cases, it can cause death.
Eating unbaked yeast bread dough can harm their health if your cat and dog consume it. If they eat the dough, it can expand in the moist, warm environment of the stomach. This can lead to a distended stomach or bloating. The yeast in the dough can also cause fermentation and the production of alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. If this is released into the bloodstream, it may lead to blood sugar, body temperature, and blood pressure drop. It can also lead to intense pain, weakness, panting, drooling, staggering, unproductive retching, coma, hyperactivity, and intestinal rupture (severe cases).
Signs of Toxicity in Pets
If you are not sure if your pet ingested candy, look out for the following signs:
- Loss of coordination
- Shaking or muscle tremors
- Hyperactivity (look out for vocalizing, pacing, attention-seeking, and panting)
- Increased thirst
If you are worried that your pet has consumed candy and is exhibiting the symptoms mentioned above, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Keep candy away from your pets to avoid problems. For more information please contact The Animal Hospital of Sussex County.