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Halloween treats that can be fatal to dogs

With Halloween approaching, there will most likely be more candy, chocolate, and other holiday treats lying around the house than usual. The time is right to educate yourself on pet safety precautions for Halloween, as even small amounts of chocolate and other human treats can be poisonous to your dog. Be sure to refer back to this list of foods to avoid feeding your dog, and take a look at our tips for keeping poisonous foods out of your pet's reach.

Halloween foods that dogs should not eat


When it comes to sweet treats, chocolate is among the most dangerous for pets. In just the past year, the Pet Poison Helpline received over 1,100 calls regarding chocolate ingestion, of which 98% involved dogs. Chocolate poses a serious threat because many dogs are naturally drawn to the smell and taste of chocolate. The more bitter and dark the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Darker chocolate contains a higher concentration of methylxanthines, the chemicals that are toxic to pets. These chemicals are similar to caffeine. An ounce of Baker's chocolate is enough to make a dog that weighs 50 pounds sick. Keep Halloween candy out of pets reach at all times to avoid problems. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, look for signs like vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, agitation, increased thirst, a fast heart rate, and, in the worst cases, seizures.

Raisins and Grapes

Grapes and raisins pose a potentially fatal risk to pets on Halloween, but few people know this. Instead of handing out candy on Halloween, some people like to give out healthy snacks like little boxes of raisins. These are very harmful to dogs. Even a small amount of raisin (or grapes) can be fatal to a dog or cat's kidneys. If you care about the safety of your pets, you should keep raisins in the same places you keep chocolate, which is to say, in closed containers that are out of reach. Unfortunately, some dogs are prone to developing idiosyncratic reactions at any dose; in other words, it is possible for them to become poisoned even if they consume only a small amount. So, it's best to assume "poisoning"

whenever there's talk of grapes or raisins being consumed. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Hard Candies

Hard candies, particularly sugar-free varieties containing xylitol, can be harmful to dogs. A dog's blood sugar drops dangerously low after consuming even a small amount of xylitol, which can cause seizures, comas, and even death. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten any amount of sugar-free hard candy.

Furthermore, multiple hard candies that "stick together" in the stomach can cause an obstruction and lead to choking. When the candy gets wet, it becomes extremely slippery, making it easy to inhale and block the airway.

Dogs can get away with just an upset tummy if they eat a couple of hard candies, but if they eat more than that or if the candies contain xylitol, they may be in for a rough ride. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, followed by fatigue, weakness, rapid breathing, and abdominal pain. Some severely affected dogs may exhibit neurological symptoms like seizures.

Sugar-free Candy

While xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free candies, is great for your waistline, it is hazardous to dogs. Because our bodies work differently, eating this increasingly common sugar alternative has no effect on humans, but it can cause life-threatening low blood sugar in dogs.


Lollipops share many of the risks of other types of sweets. They have a high sugar content, can cause a dog to choke, can obstruct the digestive system, become slippery when wet, and can obstruct the respiratory tract. For many reasons, they are not good for your dogs.

If your dog eats one or more of these candies by accident, it will probably have the same symptoms as if it ate one of the other candies above. You should do the same thing and call your vet with information about your pet and the possible candies it may have eaten so that the right treatment can be given.

Caramel Apples

Doctors warn that the seeds inside caramel apples and candy are what can really make your dog sick, despite the fact that the super-sweet caramel is a terrible idea on its own. A cyanide compound can be found in the seeds and can be poisonous to dogs.

Candy Corn

It's been established beyond any reasonable doubt that dogs should not eat candy corn.

Ingestion of large quantities of sugars like sucrose and glucose will cause gastrointestinal symptoms. If your pet has severe diarrhea and vomiting and other signs like dehydration and stomach pain, you may need to take them to a vet.

Macadamia Nuts

Owing to their high fat content, nuts can generally cause stomach problems for dogs. However, macadamia nuts in particular are extremely harmful to dogs. Just like with raisins, it's hard to say why. Yet even a tiny quantity consumed can leave a dog dizzy and nauseous. Although a bowl of nuts makes for a healthy snack for you, it's important to keep them out of your dog's reach.

Keeping Your Pets Safe This Halloween

Prevention is worth more than treatment any day. All treats should be stored high and away from curious paws. It is best to avoid keeping anything in the house that could be fatal to a pet. So, don't stock up on xylitol gum or dark chocolate. Instead of eating it at home, take it to the office and leave the rest in your cabinet. If you really want to include your pets in the Halloween fun, there are plenty of pet-friendly treats you can prepare.

Having the necessary contact information on hand can save valuable time in the event of an emergency. Save the numbers to your phone and put the information up where everyone can see it. Include the contact information for your regular veterinarian, as well as the phone numbers for the nearest one or two emergency clinics, and your dog's current weight.

If you take the proper precautions, Halloween doesn't have to be a frightening or dangerous time for your pets. Find pet-friendly alternatives to candy for your canine companions this Halloween.

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