As Halloween approaches, grocery stores and households are filling up with candy and chocolates. With a natural sweet tooth, dogs often find the smell of candy, especially chocolate, irresistible. Add colorful ribbons, fancy foil and curiosity to the mix and it becomes even more important to take extra precautions to protect your pet.
For pet owners, the scariest event that could happen on the 31st of October is for their dog or cat to eat Halloween candy! Here's how to react if your pet has gone through your trick or treat box.
Are Halloween chocolates or candies toxic to my dog or cat?
Every pet owner knows that chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs.
White chocolate does not cause fatal poisoning in dogs or cats, because it does not contain cocoa powder. However, it is way too sweet for them! On the other hand, dark and milk chocolate can cause the death of a dog or cat if consumed in too much quantity.
Thus, if you should never give chocolate to a dog or cat, the toxic dose is 20g of dark chocolate for a dog weighing 10 kg, 40g for a dog weighing 20kg, or 60g for a dog weighing 40 kg. For milk chocolate, the toxic dose will be around 100g for 10kg, or 200g for a 20kg dog, etc.
What you should also know is that other Halloween candies, which are extremely high in sugars, are also very bad for dogs and cats as they do not have a digestive system that allows them to assimilate the amount of sweetness found in candy.
Additionally, candy and other chewing gum may contain xylitol, an ingredient that is highly toxic to dogs and cats.
This is why you should never give any candy (or chocolate) to your dog or cat. If you do want to treat your pet to Halloween, give your furry friend treats which are made for him.
What should I do if my dog or cat ate Halloween candy?
If your dog or cat has swallowed Halloween candy or chocolate, start by measuring the damage by estimating how much candy your furry friend has eaten. Depending on the type and amount of candy and your pet's weight, the effect will not be the same on its body.
Carefully check the labels of the candy consumed: if it is chocolate or a xylitol candy, such as peppermint candies or “sugar-free” candies, contact your veterinarian immediately. He or she will be able to tell you whether you should come to the clinic to make your pet vomit, or simply monitor your pet the next few hours and check if your furry friend has any food poisoning symptoms.
In many cases, one or two small candies won't do any lasting damage, but will hurt your dog's stomach. On the other hand, small dogs and cats are particularly at risk because of their size, and you should not take any risk if they consume Halloween candy by mistake: to be sure, call your veterinarian.
What does food poisoning look like in dogs or cats?
If a dog or a cat has eaten Halloween candy, the symptoms you should look out for are:
Depending on the severity of each case, these symptoms may be treated by a veterinarian, or unfortunately lead to the death of the animal. It is therefore essential to act as quickly as possible if you see that your dog or cat has swallowed chocolate or other Halloween candy when you had your back turned.
If you notice these symptoms on Halloween or any other time of the year, don't delay: contact your vet to help your pet as quickly as possible!