Pets are nothing if not opportunistic. They’re constantly sniffing out the next interesting thing to play with or eat, and the temptations around Halloween are practically endless. Pets and candy are always a bad combination, but this time of year seems especially risky.
Whether you’re passing out candy or expecting your own little ghosts and goblins to bring home a hefty stash (or both!), you’ll want to take the proper precautions when it comes to your furry family members.
The Scoop on Pets and Candy
Sugary treats aren’t appropriate for pets in general, but some foods are more dangerous than others. Make sure to avoid the following ingredients found in many Halloween goodies:
- Chocolate – By now, most pet owners know that chocolate isn’t safe for dogs to eat. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are difficult for dogs to metabolize. The size of your pet and the amount and type of chocolate consumed (dark and baker’s chocolate are more toxic than milk chocolate) will influence your pet’s reaction. Signs of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive panting, increased heart rate, and seizure (in extreme cases).
- Sugar-free candy – Sugar substitutes are all the rage these days, so chances are good that your child will end up with a sugar-free treat or two in their bag this year. Xylitol, a popular sugar alternative found in many candies and gum, is highly toxic to dogs. It can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, kidney failure, and even death. If your dog has ingested xylitol, they should be seen for treatment right away.
- Raisins – Your kids may not be thrilled to see a box of mini raisins in their bag, but your pet may find it irresistible. Raisins can be quite toxic to pets, and it only takes a small amount to produce symptoms such as lethargy, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and kidney failure (in extreme cases).
Wrap It Up
To some pets, the outside of the candy is just as interesting as the inside. Eating plastic, paper, aluminum wrappers, lollypop sticks, and other non-edible items can put your pet at risk for intestinal blockage, which often requires costly x-rays and surgery to repair.
A Spooky (and Safe!) Halloween
The best way to protect your pet is to make sure they don’t have access to any goodies. Move that bowl of candy by the door to a high shelf or cupboard, and make sure the kids dump out their haul on the table instead of the living room rug. Always supervise your pet anytime candy or treats are present, and make sure everyone in the family knows the dangers associated with pets and candy.