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Candy That’s Most/Least Dangerous for Dogs

This is a great article I found on that explains what kind of candy and chocolate is bad for dogs. Most importantly is keeping your dog away from the candy.

What should you do when there’s a candy emergency?

Quick, what’s worse for your dog: Hershey’s or Jolly Ranchers? Or is there a difference?

Candy pile that dogs shouldn't have.

We asked the author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, holistic veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter, for his take on Halloween candy and our pets. We know that dogs and candy don’t mix, but some types are more dangerous than others. Even chocolate treats vary in their potential for harming our dogs.

*Dr. Richter is a member of Rover’s Dog People panel of experts.

Candy that’s not a health threat in a small quantity

A small quantity means less than 10 grams. That’s about two teaspoons. Another way to visualize the quantity: one Jolly Rancher is 6 grams.

Vegan Halloween Candy: Your Essential Guide | Keeping the Peas
  • Candy corn
  • Skittles
  • Sour candy
  • Lemonheads
  • Starburst
  • Smarties
  • Blow Pops
  • Jolly ranchers

Unsafe candy in larger quantities

Larger quantity here means greater than 10 grams. Chocolate is harder on small dogs, so your dog’s weight is a factor in chocolate toxicity.

Chocolate candy that dogs should never ingest.
  • Almond Joy
  • Reese’s
  • M&Ms
  • Snickers
  • Kit Kat
  • Twix
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Dark chocolate (medium to large dogs)
  • Butterfinger
  • Milky Way

Unsafe candy in any quantity

Xylitol Candy is not good for any dog to ingest.
  • Bubble gum containing Xylitol
  • Dark chocolate (for smaller dogs)
  • Raisinets
  • Raisin-containing candy
  • Sugar-free treats sweetened with xylitol

What is Xylitol?

The artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Sugar-free gum and other “low calorie” foods frequently contain xylitol.

Ingestion of xylitol can lead to low blood sugar, seizures, and/or liver failure.

Milk chocolate vs. Dark chocolate candy

Chocolate is bad for dogs because of a compound called theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more of that compound exists. So generally speaking, dog owners should worry more about darker chocolates such as bittersweet varieties.

Dark Chocolate Candy is the most potent for dogs.

However, that doesn’t milk chocolate is ideal for dogs. Dr. Gary explains, “there is very little actual chocolate [in milk chocolate], but a small dog and a large quantity can be an issue. Also, the sugar and fat can lead to GI upset.”

He adds that “the relative level of toxicity is related to the amount ingested, the type of chocolate, and the size of the animal. Smaller animals and larger amounts of chocolate are the most potentially dangerous combination.”

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in dogs:

  • hyperactivity
  • tremors
  • elevated heart rate
  • seizures

“Chocolate can be fatal in high enough quantities,” he adds, emphasizing that “the most toxic chocolates are the ones with the highest level of cacao.”

What should you do when there’s a candy emergency?

Dog ate chocolate candy and now feels horrible.

If chocolate, artificial sweeteners, raisins, or macadamia nuts are ingested by your pet, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control immediately.

Animal poison control: (888) 426-4435

Dr. Gary makes this final point: “remember, symptoms of toxicity may take hours or even days to show up. In many cases, by the time a pet looks sick, it may be too late to treat them successfully.”

So when in doubt, call in help!

My View Behind the Vet Door

I’ve been employed in a couple veterinary clinics where I’ve seen the dogs come in for ingesting chocolate and candy. The sooner they are brought in, the faster the recovery is. I’ve witnessed a dog that ate 6 little bags of chocolate coins, a dog that ate most of a bag of Andes Mints, and a dog that ate Whoppers. In each case, we had to give them medicine to make them throw it up. (At least the vomit smells like chocolate!) After that, we give them liquid charcoal so that any remaining chocolate will not be absorbed into their system.

Dog in a vet clinic that veterinarian has induced vomit. Vomit chocolate everywhere!

It’s usually a messy scene with all the vomit and charcoal splattered everywhere, but the dog gets to feeling better after everything is out of their system.

So be sure to keep all chocolate and candy up and away from dogs!!

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