What to Do When Your Dog Eats Halloween Candy

Dog in a Halloween Costume

Can Halloween candy be dangerous for our furry friends? And if it is, how much Halloween candy is safe and what does ‘too much’ mean? We’re answering all of these questions in today’s article and we’re also looking at what you can do if you discovered that your pooch ate Halloween candy while you weren’t looking.

How much is too much?

Not all types of Halloween candy can pose a health threat to dogs. It actually depends on the ingredients that it contains. The most dangerous ingredient that can be found in such candy is chocolate, which is known to be toxic to dogs, but we’ll discuss this in the second section of the article.

Most vets agree that anything over 10 grams of Halloween candy, whether Skittles, Starburst, Blow Pops, candy corn, Smarties, or Lemonheads, can be dangerous to dogs. 10 grams is about 2 teaspoons, so that’s a very small quantity.

There are some types of candy that can be very risky, even if the 10-gram limit is not exceeded by much. In general, any candy that contains chocolate can be considered in this category, so that would be M&Ms, Milky Way, Butterfinger, Snickers, Kit Kat, Reese’s, and anything else.

The size and weight of your canine friend also have a say when it comes to how dangerous a piece of candy can be. If you have a small breed, you risk causing a lot more health problems if you give up to the dog’s insistence and give him a human snack.

For example, a Saint Bernard that ate 2 M&Ms isn’t going to be affected that much, but if you give the same 2 M&Ms to a Teacup Shih Tzu, it might at least cause some problems, if not more.

Dangerous ingredients in Halloween candy

We’ve already mentioned that Halloween candy that contains chocolate is by far the riskiest one, but there are other things, too. Xylitol is very toxic to our canine friends, and it can be so dangerous that it can lead to death, even when the dog has consumed only a small quantity of it.

Worst of all, most of the candy that’s being manufactured nowadays contains at least a small amount of artificial sweeteners (whether that is xylitol or something different) so as to be more or less ‘healthy’. Xylitol can cause a variety of health problems from seizures to liver failure.

Then, there’s another complication. If you give your pooch a snack or treat like Raisinets, you could be endangering his or her health twice. Raisins are toxic, but when they’re covered in chocolate, they can be downright lethal.

When should you be worried?

The best piece of advice that we can give you if you discover that your dog had access to and ate some Halloween candy is to get to the vet clinic as soon as possible. Time is of the essence when it comes to chocolate toxicity, and every minute makes a difference in saving your dog’s life.

There are some symptoms that can tell you that something is wrong, even if you don’t know for sure. If your dog seems to be too active all of a sudden, you notice that his or her heart rate is elevated, and Fido starts to experience tremors, or worse, seizures, veterinary assistance is needed right away.

Some dogs can vomit, have diarrhea, pant and drink a lot of water. All of these clinical signs should tell you that you have to go to the vet’s office immediately.

What to do if your dog ate Halloween candy

If you have just one suspicion that your canine friend ate Halloween candy, you should find out what type it was and how much he/she managed to consume. It might be challenging, but it can make a difference.

Naturally, the vet is going to do their best to save your dog’s life, so you don’t have to worry about that, but it would be extremely helpful if you knew the candy brand, so that they check whether it doesn’t contain xylitol, too, not just chocolate.

There is also a difference between one type of chocolate and the other, meaning that the ones that are more concentrated (such as baking chocolate or dark chocolate) are more toxic than the milder varieties (like milk chocolate).

While some online resources recommend that you calculate the amount of theobromine (the substance contained by chocolate) that your dog ingested and base it on his or her weight to see whether your pooch has ingested a potentially dangerous quantity, I advise you to get to the vet as soon as possible rather than having to waste precious time trying to solve equations.

If your dog ate a small amount and you’re unwilling to go to the clinic as you don’t think it’s that dangerous, you could at least call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888 426-4435).

An important note that we must make with regard to Halloween candy is that it can cause a variety of issues even if it doesn’t contain chocolate, so you might think that it’s not that dangerous. It can take several days or weeks for your dog to develop a health complication, but there have been cases of animals that developed pancreatitis, liver failure, or kidney failure.


A little bit of candy can cause significant damage to a dog’s body. Therefore, making sure that your Fido has no way of getting into a place where there is any Halloween candy at all is the best way of going about things.

If you have kids that want to go trick-or-treating or you want to give other kids candy, make sure that you keep your candy basket or container on an as high level as possible or even in a locked drawer, so that your dog has no means of accessing it.

Some dogs tend to be more interested in human food if their bellies aren’t that full. If you know you have kids coming over to your house and you want to give them candy, make sure that you take your canine buddy to a long and nice walk so that he or she is tired. After that, you can give your pooch a consistent and delicious meal so that your pet is fully satisfied and exhibits no interest in human snacks.



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