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Can Dogs Eat Candy? Is Candy Safe for Dogs?

Are you one of those people who always has a few chocolate bars, Sour Gummies, or packets of Skittles in the pantry ready for your next weekend Netflix marathon? Or are you more the connoisseur of fine imported chocolate? Either way, if you have candy in the house and you have a dog, you’ll likely find that your furry friend is just as interested in your sweet-smelling treats as you are and will quickly take the opportunity to help themselves to any that they find lying around.

We all know that too many sweets are bad for us, but what about your dog? Can dogs eat candy, or will it make them ill?

The question isn’t a simple one to answer, as it really depends on what the candy is made of. Some candies contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, while others won’t do them any harm unless they consume excessive amounts. However, candy of any kind isn’t particularly good for your dog, so we suggest erring on the side of caution and not allowing your pet to eat candy at all.Divider 8

What Ingredients in Candy Are Toxic to Dogs?

terrier dog with chocolate
Image credit: Sonja Rachbauer, Shutterstock

If by some chance your dog has managed to get hold of some candy while you weren’t looking, it is important to check the ingredients, as there are a few things that are often in candy that dogs should never eat.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is usually extracted from corn starch and manufactured into a white powder that looks and tastes like sugar. It is often used in diet and low sugar products as a sugar substitute and can sometimes be found in some candies and chewing gums, particularly those that are advertised as being low in sugar or sugar-free.

Xylitol is also extremely toxic to dogs, and even a small amount can make your dog seriously ill. According to the VCA Animal Hospitals website, Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs.

The symptoms of Xylitol poisoning develop quickly and can include:
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If you suspect that your dog has ingested any products containing Xylitol, you should immediately contact the Pet Poison Helpline on 800-213-6680 (U.S. residents only) or your veterinarian.

Chocolate

Most people are aware that chocolate can make dogs ill. However, the truth is that depending on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed, and the weight of your dog, chocolate consumption can have varying degrees of toxicity and may have little or no effect on your dog or could, in fact, be fatal. Therefore, if you are at all unsure of how much chocolate your dog has consumed, you should contact your vet immediately.

Symptoms to watch out for include:
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

You may also find this simple to use Dog Chocolate Toxicity Meter on the PetMD.com website useful in determining the likely reaction that your dog will have to any chocolate that they have consumed.

Sick French Bulldog
Image credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay
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Raisins

Raisins, like fresh grapes, can be extremely toxic to dogs and can, in some cases, cause renal failure. However, unlike some other ingredients, raisins are not toxic to all dogs, and some can consume them without suffering any ill effects. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whether your dog will be one of those that are affected, and as such, you should do everything you can to ensure that your dog does not eat them.

There are quite a few candies and chocolate bars that contain raisins, and they are also often found in yogurt-covered snacks and mixed fruit and nut combinations.

According to the PetMD Website, raisins are more toxic than fresh grapes. This is thought to be because they are dried and have a more concentrated toxin.

The main symptoms of grape and raisin poisoning are:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Lethargy

As with all suspected poisoning, if you suspect that your dog has consumed any raisins, you should immediately seek advice from your vet, as if treated quickly, your dog will have a much better chance of recovery.

carolina with candy
Image Credit: Steve McDonald, Flickr
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Macadamia Nuts and Black Walnuts

Most people know that nuts can be a choking hazard to dogs, but both Macadamia nuts and black walnuts are toxic to dogs. It is therefore extremely important to check the ingredients of any candy your dog consumes that contains nuts for these products.

Both these nut varieties can cause vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, a high temperature, and seizures in dogs and should always be avoided. As with the other toxic ingredients, if you believe that your dog may have consumed any amount of either of these nuts, you should seek immediate advice and assistance from your dog’s veterinarian.

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Featured image credit: Pixabay