Unfettered access to tasty treats is so much fun one day a year — for humans, that is. When pets get into candy, the health risks can be significant. Chocolate is the main concern as it can cause fatal complications for dogs, Coval says. The smaller the dog, the more dangerous chocolate consumption can be. She recommends purchasing treats made from milk chocolate if there are going to be pets around. Milk chocolate is still not safe to feed to pets, but the theobromine levels are lower than, say, baking chocolate, so if your dog does happen to ingest it, the effects won’t be as severe, she explains.
So, how should you react if you do happen upon a bunch of chewed-up chocolate wrappers? Chocolate causes a dog’s heart rate to increase, Coval says, and she cautions owners to watch their pets for vomiting or diarrhea if they suspect chocolate has been consumed. These factors, along with agitation or over-excited behavior are reason enough to get your dog to an emergency clinic, she says.
On that note, it’s a great idea to always have the number of the nearest emergency facility handy or to determine whether your small animal vet has an after-hours practitioner on call.
Another substance that can cause issues for dogs is xylitol, the plant extract in most chewing gum, Coval says. There’s a significant danger of toxicity for dogs, so call the vet if you suspect your dog has gotten into gum in the Halloween candy basket. Also, sugar in general isn’t great for cats or dogs, Coval says, so to prevent an abrupt end to a fun evening, just make sure that candy container is well out of all pets’ reach.