Do these 5 things immediately if your dog eats Halloween candy

Although you can certainly make canine-safe Halloween candy for dogs, commercial Halloween candy is absolutely not meant to be fed to pups. Sometimes, though, sneaky dogs get their way and infiltrate the trick-or-treat bag.

Our fur babies don’t necessarily know that they’re putting something dangerous into their mouths, so it’s up to their beloved pet parents to keep them safe. Luckily, that’s exactly what we’re here to help with. From treating a possible case of food poisoning to preventing these incidents altogether, these are the five things you should do if your dog breaks into the Halloween candy:

A dog wearing a Cookie Monster costume licks his lips at a plate of treats

My dog ate Halloween candy — help!

It can certainly be scary to find out that your furry friend got into the Halloween candy — and not the kind of scary you want on this holiday. As long as you act quickly, however, you can do a lot to keep your dog safe and healthy.

1. Keep your dog nearby

Step one is to make sure your dog doesn’t need any kind of instant, emergency care. Although candy itself is dangerous to a canine’s body, candy wrappers can cause intestinal blockage or even choke a pet in rare cases.

Even if you can’t see an immediate problem, keep your dog nearby so you can watch for symptoms. This will also make your call to a vet or poison control center quicker and easier, as they may ask you to check your pet for certain signs of poisoning while you’re still on the phone.

2. Find out what he ate

If you can, it will be immensely helpful to find out what type of candy your dog ate. This way, you can look up any ingredients that you know he ingested so you can act quickly if necessary. Don’t worry about calculating how much he ate, though — the professional on the phone will help guide you through this in the next steps.

3. Call a veterinarian or poison control hotline

This is the most important step if you suspect that your pet has gotten into the Halloween candy, as the folks in vet offices and animal poison control centers will know exactly what to do. They’ll ask you questions to determine what your dog ate, how much, and what needs to be done next. Whatever you do, make sure to follow their instructions as closely as you can.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Helpline phone number is 888-426-4435. They are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

4. Make sure your dog stays hydrated

When the ordeal is over, or at least calmed down to where you know your pet is safe, it’s time to take care of non-urgent needs. Hydration will be ultra-important in the event of even mild poisoning, as many toxins dehydrate and exhaust the body. Not only will water replenish your pup’s hydration needs, but it’ll also help flush out anything harmful still in his system.

5. Bring your dog to a vet if needed

If the pros at your vet’s office or poison control center don’t think it’s necessary for your dog to visit a clinic, you can still bring him in. You may need to go to an emergency veterinarian’s office for walk-in care.

You may want to take your dog to see a doctor if your pup has prolonged vomiting or excessive diarrhea, tremors, seizures, or other strange behaviors. You know your fur baby best, so if something is wrong, don’t hesitate to get help.

A dog wearing a ghost headband sits and holds a trick or treat basket in his mouth

How to prevent your dog from eating Halloween candy

Thankfully, you can stop most candy-related incidents before they begin; it just takes a little time and planning. Here are a few easy ways to keep all the candy away from prying paws:

Don’t take your dog trick-or-treating

As much as you’d like to have your four-legged friend tagging along on all the fun, trick-or-treating can be prime time for candy stealing. While you were looking around at all the decorations or keeping an eye on your kids, your pup could very well have been snacking on something he found on the ground — it happens!

Use a canine-safe container

When you bring home this year’s loot, use a lockable container that your dog can’t open. A ziplock bag may be great for storage, but it will only go so far before succumbing to your dog’s sharp teeth.

Most lockable, reusable containers will be just fine, though you can opt for something cute, too, as long as it can’t be opened by paws or a nose.

Store candy high up

Finally, make sure to store your candy stash somewhere inaccessible to your dog — like a high pantry shelf. This step is especially important if your container isn’t completely dog-proof. Who knows, this strategy might help you limit your candy intake, too!

By being smart with your candy storage and knowing what to do in case of emergency, you and your pup are in for a fun (and safe) Halloween! You won’t need to spend the whole holiday on high alert if you know the candy is where your dog can’t reach it, and even he will be able to enjoy the festivities of All Hallow’s Eve.

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