Dogs and Candy: All Trick and No Treat

Little Bo Peep and Her SheepHalloween can be just as much fun for dogs as for their human companions. Many owners delight in purchasing or creating imaginative costumes for their pets to wear. And if your dog finds his way into the candy bars, that’s no big deal, right? Wrong! Human treats can be bad for pets in all sorts of ways, and those sweets in your jack-o’-lantern could prompt a bitter trip to the emergency vet.

Chocolate and nuts can make us fat (and possibly cause allergic reactions or other health problems), but they’re potentially deadly to dogs. Chocolate contains naturally-occurring substances called methylxanthines that have a dangerous stimulant effect. Dogs who ingest chocolate may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems, seizures and worse. The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk. To add insult to injury, the macadamia nuts sometimes found in these products can cause many of the same effects.

Even “healthy” sweets can be dangerous. Grapes and raisins, for instance, have been associated with canine kidney failure, so don’t assume it’s okay to share these with your pet. Also, watch out for sugarless sweets containing xylitol. This ingredient can cause serious hypoglycemia and even liver failure in dogs.

Of course you can still enjoy a fun Halloween with your pet even if he doesn’t get to nose through your candy stash. If your friends and neighbors have pets too, why not alert them of the dangers and come up with plans to serve healthy dog treats to costumed canines who go trick or treating with the family? If you do go out at night, however, keep safety in mind at all times. Use a sturdy leash and a reflective collar; if your pet has trouble with pulling at the leash, we can train him to curb his enthusiasm.

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