Halloween is around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited (for the children, of course) *cough* who are we kidding? We can’t wait to stuff our faces with chocolate and candy and not feel guilty about it!  

But, before you get too excited, you should know a few things about Halloween treats if you own a dog or cat. Although Halloween candy may be a treat for you, it most definitely is a trick for your pets. It has been reported that during the week of Halloween, calls increase by 12%, and it is the number one date when emergency animal services are their busiest of the year.1


Why is chocolate bad for my dog?

Chocolate is well known for containing theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cocoa plant. The darker and the more bitter the chocolate, the stronger the theobromine. Which, of course, will mean the worse it is for your dog.3,6

 Some signs to look out for if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate:

• Vomiting

• Diarrhoea

• Convulsions

Keep in mind, in some cases, depending on the amount of chocolate a dog consumes, it can result in death. The lethal dosage is between 250 and 500mg per kg of body weight (6). In saying this, no matter the amount, small or large, it is still important to go straight to your local vet or emergency services department. Make sure they are checked and cleared.


Why are lollies bad for my dog?

Lollies are known to have Xylitol, which is poisonous to pets. Suppose your dog has digested a lot of sugary sweets. In that case, it could be potentially fatal if you don’t act straight away, as the substance can create inflammation of the pancreas and become very painful.2

The stick attached to the lollipop can be a serious choking hazard and obstruction that may require surgery. This could also include lollies wrapped in plastic.1


Why are sugar-free lollies bad for my dog?

Although this is a little less common, sugar-free lollies can still pose a risk to your pet. Most sugar-free lollies have a substance called Xylitol. Xylitol is also found in gum or baked goods. Depending on how many sugar-free sweets the dog has consumed, the Xylitol can cause a surge of insulin and cause the kidneys to fail or the liver to shut down.5,7,8


What happens if my dog/cat chews on a glow stick?

Yes, a random one, but it is more common than you think. Glow sticks are not threatening; however, if chewed on, they can cause irritation or pain in the mouth. Some pets show reactions such as drooling and foaming at the mouth.4 So please be mindful of where you place your glow sticks. 


How to stop my dog from eating Halloween chocolates and lollies? 

Please keep any Halloween treats out of your pet’s reach. Keep dog treats nearby to satisfy your curious pet.

Watch your kids! Some kids make the mistake of sharing their treats with the family pet thinking it would be okay. Please make sure they understand the risks of making this and the difference between food for dogs and humans. 

Maybe put your pet in a safer part of the house where they can avoid exposure to certain hazards.1

Keep your local vet, emergency service or pet poison hotline written down close by or stuck on your fridge. It is always better to be prepared than sorry.


What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

If you see your pet eat chocolate or any treat, do not wait for signs of toxicity. Call or visit your local vet immediately.

If it is after hours, use an emergency pet service near you.

Another option is to call a pet poison hotline. They can help walk you through the situation and tell you exactly what to do.

Try and bring as much information as you can, the more information the quicker they can resolve the issue. For example:
- What your dog ate
- When they ate it
- How much did they eat?

Do not try and make your dog sick. Let a professional do this, otherwise, you may cause other unwanted complications.

At the end of the day, any processed food will never be good for your pet. So, keep your four-legged friends safe and happy this Halloween! 

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  1. 5 Ways to Keep Pets Safe on Halloween https://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/ownership-adoption/pet-ownership/pet-holidays/5-ways-to-keep-pets-safe-on-halloween/ 
  2. Pet Poison Helpline warns pet owners about Halloween dangers https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/uncategorized/pet-poison-helpline-warns-pet-owners-about-halloween-dangers/#:~:text=Candy%20and%20sweets%20overindulgence,the%20pancreas%20and%20very%20painful
  3. 9 Scary and Surprising Halloween Dangers for Pets https://www.greatpetcare.com/wellness/9-scary-and-surprising-halloween-dangers-for-pets/ 
  4. Halloween Dangers to Dogs & Cats https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/halloween/
  5. Halloween dangers https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/health-and-care/a-z-of-health-and-care-issues/halloween-dangers/
  6. Can chocolate really kill dogs? https://www.theguardian.com/g2/story/0,,2225631,00.html#:~:text=Theobromine%20is%20a%20bitter%20alkaloid,theobromine%20slowly%2C%20such%20as%20dogs
  7. Artificial sweeteners and Pets https://www.westparkanimalhospital.com/blog/artificial-sweeteners-and-pets/#:~:text=Xylitol%2C%20which%20is%20commonly%20found,and%20kidney%20failure%20in%20dogs 
  8. Can My Dog Eat Sugar-Free Candy? https://www.rover.com/blog/can-dog-eat-sugar-free-candy/