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It is hard to choose our favorite festive treat, but peppermint candy, and especially peppermint candy canes, definitely come near the top of the list.
Maybe you want to share your favorite sweet with your dog, or they have managed to get their hands on a pack and gobble down quite a few. Either way, you are probably asking yourself: can dogs eat peppermint candy at Christmas?
The short answer to that question is no, dogs should never be eating your peppermint candy treats. Human peppermint candies, and especially peppermint candy canes, are dangerous to dogs.
In today’s article, we will explain exactly why dogs shouldn’t be eating peppermint candy, even though peppermint can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet.
We will also explain exactly why you should never give dog peppermint candy canes, and why it is not a good idea to feed dogs human candy under any circumstances.
We’ll also suggest some dog treat alternatives if you are looking to inject a little peppermint, or just a little festive cheer, into your dog’s treats during the Christmas season.
Can Dogs Eat Peppermint?
Yes, dogs can eat peppermint and it can even be beneficial to them. Peppermint can help fight allergies, and it can also aid digestion and ease stomach issues.
But peppermint extract can be dangerous for dogs, as any peppermint intake needs to be in moderation.
And this is the problem with peppermint candy. It often contains the ingredient in concentrated doses that simply may be too much for your dog.
Moreover, if your dog is not accustomed to eating peppermint, they may have an adverse reaction to even a small amount. The most common reaction is gastrointestinal problems, usually characterized by vomiting and diarrhea.
So, giving your dog peppermint candy, generally, isn’t a good idea. And if they manage to get their hands on and eat a whole bag, there is cause for concern.
Can Dogs Eat Peppermint Candy Canes?
While peppermint is fine to feed your dog, you should never feed your dog peppermint candy canes for a number of reasons.
Many Peppermint Candy Canes Contain Toxic Xylitol
The main reason you should never give your dog peppermint candy canes is that many varieties contain xylitol, an ingredient that is deathly toxic to dogs.
This is a sugar alternative ingredient commonly used in candy and sweets that are described as sugar-free, containing natural sugars, or no added sugar.
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell if candy contains xylitol as it is listed under a variety of different names including birch sugar, E967, Sucre de Bouleau, and Xylo-pentane-pentanol.
Even a small amount of xylitol can be lethal for your dog. If they consume just 0.1 grams of xylitol per 2.2 pounds of their weight, they can have seizures so severe that can result in death.
If they consume 0.5 grams per 2.2 grams of their weight, it can result in catastrophic liver failure.
Unfortunately, it is not always simple to monitor how much xylitol your dog may have consumed, as quantities are not listed on candy packaging, since the ingredient is not harmful to humans, the intended consumer of the treat.
There are a number of signs to look out for to determine if your dog is having a xylitol reaction. Principal among them are:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Lethargy and weakness
You can learn more about dog poisoning symptoms here.
It is important to contact your vet immediately if your dog shows any of these symptoms.
They will likely recommend that you rub corn syrup or maple syrup into their gums to offset the sugar crash caused by the xylitol while you rush your dog in for treatment. But ensure they do not eat any of the syrup, as that can make the situation worse.
If you have a dog at home, it is always a good idea to buy candy canes and all other sweets without xylitol, just in case they get their paws on them. But even if you buy xylitol-free peppermint candy canes, you shouldn’t be giving them to your dog.
You can learn more about other foods that are toxic to dogs (like chocolate) here.
Candy Canes Are A Choking Hazard
Hard candies, like peppermint candy canes, are a choking hazard for dogs. In fact, candy canes are among the worst as their long thin design means they are easy for dogs to break into pieces as they gobble them down.
Moreover, candy canes are like chicken bones, in that when dogs do crack them in their teeth, they can break into sharp shards. This can do serious damage to your dog’s esophagus and intestines on the way down.
Symptoms of this kind of internal damage include a hacking cough, bloated belly, and difficulty defecating.
Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Eats Peppermint Candy Canes?
As a general rule, you should be worried if your dog gets into the peppermint candy canes for a number of reasons.
- They might control xylitol, which is toxic to dogs even in small amounts.
- They generally contain a lot of peppermint, which can upset your dog’s stomach if they aren’t accustomed to it.
- They are a serious choking hazard and can also break into sharps. This can damage your dog’s throat and stomach.
In addition to this, don’t forget that candy canes tend to be individually wrapped in plastic. Your dog is very unlikely to completely remove the plastic before consuming their delicious treat.
Your dog may suffer from vomiting or diarrhea as their body tries to expel this foreign object. They may also suffer from loss of appetite and constipation as the plastic blocks their digestive tract.
Why You Should Never Feed Your Dog Human Candy
Basically, it is never a good idea to feed your dog human candy, even if you are 100 percent sure it does not contain xylitol.
You know you need to limit your candy intake because it is high in sugar, and excessive sugar can do a lot of damage to your health.
Sugar can have the same effect on dogs, except that they have a lower tolerance level, so it takes even less to seriously compromise their health.
Excessive sugar can quickly result in serious health issues such as obesity and diabetes. It also does serious damage to your dog’s teeth, which can cause them a lot of pain.
But, even if you decide to give them a sweet treat as a one-off, it is not a good idea.
First of all, if they aren’t accustomed to eating sugar, a big sugar hit can cause their blood sugar to spike. This can leave them feeling disoriented and nauseous, and it may result in vomiting.
Plus, once you start feeding them sugary treats, they can develop a taste for it. Suddenly, your well-behaved dog will be making eyes at you as you eat a slice of cake and may find crafty ways to retrieve sugary treats from the cupboard.
So, for the sake of your dog’s health, it is best not to feed them human treats under any circumstances.
Dog Treat Alternatives
Peppermint Treats For Dogs
If you want to treat your dog with peppermint-flavored foods, then look out for dog alternatives that will be balanced to contain a safe dosage of peppermint and won’t contain any nasty ingredients.
These can actually be good for your dog, and the peppermint in these treats can help ease the stomach of an upset dog.
If you are looking for healthy peppermint treats for your dog, try one of our two favorite options, both of which are available from Chewy.
These great treats from Zesty Paws are tasty chews designed to care for your dog’s teeth, boost their immune system, and reduce allergy symptoms with a number of active ingredients.
EpiCor provides antioxidants and vitamins that boost the immune system.
Hemp protein injects omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to boost immunity and ease skin itchiness.
Peppermint oil eases allergies, aids digestion, and leaves your dog’s breath smelling fresh.
At 95 calories per stick, feed these treats to your pup in moderation to maintain a healthy weight.
This is another doggy dental health chew that is also designed to aid digestion through the addition of key ingredients, such as peppermint.
The sticks contain prebiotics and probiotics designed to maintain the microflora of their digestive system.
Additional active ingredients including peppermint and ginger also aid digestion.
Again, these treats are pretty high in calories. Large sticks contain 92 calories, while small sticks contain 25, so make sure to balance them with the rest of your dog’s diet.
Festive Treats For Dogs
If you are looking for just festive treats for dogs to include in your Christmas haul, rather than anything specifically containing peppermint, then you also have lots of options.
Here are our three favorite festive treats for dogs currently available on Chewy.
What’s more festive than turkey with cranberry sauce? Not much, and now your dog can enjoy this too with these turkey and cranberry treats for dogs, each baked into Christmas tree-shaped cookies.
These USA made treats are healthy for dogs as they are high in animal-based protein. Real turkey is the first ingredient on the list, combined with all-natural complements that make a bite that is also packed full of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need.
You can also feed your dog quite a few of these treats over the course of the day, as they contain just 14 calories per bite.
While less nutritionally beneficial than our first option, these dog biscuits from Old Mother Hubbard are tasty, and they certainly won’t do your dog any harm. They are also only 14 calories per bite.
They have a strong peanut butter flavor and smell, which will seat nicely with the human treats you are having on the day. These biscuits also contain a nice dollop of chicken fat. While this might sound disgusting, dogs love it!
So, give your pup a treat they will love more than a candy cane with these all-natural bites.
Maple glazed ham is another undeniable festive flavor. These vegetarian dog treats deliver all of this flavor in an oat-cased cookie that also aids digestion with added fiber and no nasties in the recipe.
These biscuits look a lot like the biscuits you yourself may be eating, and at just 24 calories per biscuit, your dog can have quite a few off the plate over the course of the day. Just make sure none of your human eaters decides to try one.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Peppermint Candy?
No, as a general rule, it is not safe to feed your dog peppermint candy. These types of sweets tend to be very high in both peppermint and sugar, both of which can upset your dog’s stomach when ingested in large quantities.
Worse than this, many peppermint candies for humans also contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is harmless to humans but toxic to dogs. Even a small amount can cause severe seizures or fatal liver failure.
In addition to this, hard candies are a choking risk for dogs. Peppermint candy canes are even worse as they tend to break into sharps, which can cut your dog’s esophagus and intestines.
So, no, it is not a good idea to give you dog peppermint candy.
How Much Xylitol Will Kill A Dog?
Even a small amount of xylitol can be fatal to dogs. It takes just 0.1 grams of xylitol per 2.2 pounds of your dog’s body weight to cause severe seizures that can be life-threatening. It takes just 0.5 grams of xylitol per 2.2 grams of a dog’s weight to cause fatal liver failure.
Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell how much xylitol your dog may have consumed as quantities are rarely listed on the packaging. This is because xylitol is not harmful to humans, the intended consumer of the treats.
Can A Dog Survive Eating Xylitol?
Dogs can survive eating xylitol, but it does depend on the quantity they have eaten and how quickly they get to a vet. If your dog has eaten this toxic substance, it is best to take them immediately to the vet and take any relevant packaging with you.
If your dog is having a blood sugar crash, you can rub sorn syrup or maple syrup into their gums. This will temporarily offset the effect of the xylitol and give you extra time to seek help. But make sure your dog does not consume the syrup, as this can worsen the situation.
Do Dogs Hate The Smell Of Peppermint?
Dogs, like humans, are individuals in terms of the smells they do and don’t like. However, dogs tend to find any strong smell repulsive, especially if it is on their skin or hair.
So, your pup may well dislike a shampoo with a strong peppermint fragrance and turn their noses up at a dental chew or toothpaste that has a strong mint smell.
While a little bit of peppermint can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, this does not mean you should feel free to let your dog indulge in peppermint candy with the family during the festive season.
Peppermint candy, and especially peppermint candy canes, are extremely dangerous to dogs. They can contain high levels of peppermint and sugar, both of which can seriously upset your dog’s stomach.
Worse than this, many varieties of peppermint candy also contain xylitol, which is toxic and potentially deadly to dogs, even in small amounts.
Add to this that hard candies are a choking hazard, and candy canes also have a tendency to break into sharps, and these are the last thing your dog should be eating.
If you want to include your dog in the Christmas festivities, rather than share your own treats with them, invest in festive doggy treats specifically designed to be healthy and safe for your dog.
Not to mention delicious. Dog’s have different taste buds to us, so they may well prefer those peanut butter and chicken fat cookies.
What treats do you like to give your dog during the festive season?
Share your ideas with the community in the comments section below.
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