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While you want your dog to be able to join in all the Halloween fun with the family, it is not always safe for them to do so. This is particularly the case when it comes to candy corn and other Halloween treats.
You may be thinking, I know it isn’t good for them, but it’s just one day—a similar thought you might be having about yourself and any kids in the home.
But sugary candy certainly isn’t a healthy part of any dog’s diet, and there are greater risks. Many common human Halloween treats contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
In today’s article, we are going to go through exactly why candy corn in particular, and Halloween treats in general, can be poisonous to dogs.
While you can certainly look out for treats that avoid the offending ingredients, your best approach is to keep human candy well away from your dog, and get them their own treats to enjoy as part of the celebration.
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Can Dogs Have Candy Corn?
The short answer to this question is no, dogs should not be eating candy corn, no matter what day of the year it is.
Within minutes of consumption, the xylitol can cause a severe drop in blood sugar in dogs, which can cause seizures.
If they survive this traumatic experience, they can then also suffer severe liver failure.
That is why candy corn is often characterized as the most dangerous treat you can give your pets.
While you can look for varieties that do not contain the offending ingredient, it is still not a good idea.
If you let your dog have candy corn, they will learn that it is food that is “for them.”
As a result, at another time and at another person’s house they might see some candy corn and decide to eat it. And that candy corn may contain potentially deadly xylitol.
If you are going to have candy corn in the house for other members of the family, and you are worried about your pup getting their paws on a portion, avoid candy corn with xylitol.
BE WARNED: Xylitol is not always obvious on the ingredients list, as it is sometimes referred to by other terms such as sugar alcohol, of which xylitol is one type.
You should be wary of anything labeled sugar-free, natural sweeteners, or no added sugars, as this often means an artificial sweetener like xylitol has been used.
You are far better off getting your dog their own special treats designed especially for them.
You can find our review of some of the best dog treats here.
How Much Xylitol Is Dangerous For Dogs?
While you might think that a couple of pieces of candy corn won’t make much of a difference, it doesn’t require much to start having a significant and adverse effect on your dog’s health.
Just 0.1 grams of xylitol per 2.2. pounds of body weight is enough to cause severe hypoglycemia in dogs within minutes. It takes just 0.5 grams per 2.2 pounds to cause liver failure.
A single piece of candy corn can contain around 0.3 grams of xylitol, so they do not need to eat a lot of it to start suffering adverse effects.
Dogs can recover from xylitol poisoning depending on how much they consumed, and if it is identified in time and properly treated.
The main immediate symptoms of xylitol poisoning are:
- Decreased activity
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog and you suspect xylitol is the cause, you can grant your pet some temporary relief by rubbing corn syrup or maple syrup into their gums.
This temporarily raises their blood sugar and counteracts the insulin released in response to the xylitol. But don’t let your dog eat much of the syrup, as that can just make the matter worse.
You then need to get your dog to the vet or animal ER as quickly as possible, as their blood sugar levels will fall again.
Other Treats That Contain Xylitol
Candy corn is not the only thing that contains xylitol. Many similar chewy, sugary treats also contain the ingredient, as do many chewing gums, in particular sugar-free varieties.
For this reason, all packaged sweets that your dog might be able to get their hands on should be checked for xylitol.
A number of other common foods also often contain the ingredient. These include baking mixes, jams and preserves, some brands of peanut butter, anything with added protein such as protein powders or protein bars, supplements, and even some toothpaste varieties.
This is one of the main reasons why you should avoid giving dogs human foods and other products, and always look for options specifically designed for pups.
Other Halloween Dangers
Candy corn and similar traits are not the only things you should be concerned about your dog eating on Halloween. There are a number of other common ingredients in Halloween treats that can be toxic to dogs.
Your dog should not be eating chocolate, as it contains theobromine. It takes dogs a long time to process this, which allows for toxic levels of it to build up in their system.
A small amount of chocolate will probably give your dog vomiting and diarrhea, but a large amount can produce tremors, seizures, internal bleeding, and serious heart issues.
Raisins, and other products made from grapes, are also toxic to dogs and can cause sudden kidney failure. It is not currently clear what element of the grape causes toxicity, but the effects are fast and severe.
While some nuts, such as hazelnuts and cashews, are nice treats for dogs, others are very dangerous.
- Pistachios can cause pancreatitis
- Walnuts can cause seizures
- Macadamia nuts can cause neurological problems
- Pecans adversely affect the digestive system.
So any treats that also contain nuts are also best avoided.
Along with potentially containing dangerous ingredients (including xylitol), hard candy is a serious choking risk for dogs. These candies can easily slip down your dog’s throat once they become coated in saliva.
If your dog gets their nose into the treats, they aren’t likely to unwrap anything they find there before guzzling it down.
This can cause serious obstructions. And, even if your pet does pass the wrappers, it is unlikely to be a comfortable experience for them.
You can read a full list of dangerous foods your dog should be avoiding here.
While you want your canine family member to be able to join in all the fun at Halloween, this should not extend to eating human Halloween treats.
Many of the most popular Halloween treats contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
The worst is xylitol, a common ingredient in candy corn and other chewy sweets. But chocolates and raisins are also toxic to dogs, and hard candies and wrappers represent a serious choking hazard.
For this reason, you should keep your dog away from human treats and on Halloween indulge them with their own special dog treats.
How do you celebrate Halloween with your dog? Do you have any favorite treats that you like to feed them? Share your ideas with the community in the comments section below.
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