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What to do if your dog eats Halloween candy

October 18, 2012

Q: My dog Sasha, a 13-pound terrier, just ate about 7 peanut M&Ms and one "fun size" Twix bar from my stock of Halloween candies. Should I induce vomiting? This occurred about 1/2 hour ago.

A: This is a common situation with dogs. While chocolate can be toxic to dogs, they have to eat quite a lot, probably much more than Sasha ate, before you would see any signs of toxicity.

The rule of thumb which I apply is that with milk chocolate mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when 2 ounces per pound of body weight is consumed. If Sasha's weight is around 13 lbs., then she would have to swallow around 9 oz (or 1/2 lb.) of pure milk chocolate before any symptoms would occur. Here's a helpful chart from National Geographic.

Another factor in your favor would be that the main ingredient of these candies is not in fact chocolate at all.

I am telling you the following just for your information ONLY, as your dog ate so little you need not be concerned.

The symptoms of chocolate poisoning would include vomiting and diarrhea as well as frequent urination, and restlessness in the early stages. This can then progress to cardiac dysfunction, tremors, and fits. Of course you should you should call your vet ASAP if any symptoms occur.

If there are no serious symptoms, most dogs with chocolate poisoning will recover within 24 to 48 hours.

-- Answer from Scott Nimmo, veterinary surgeon on JustAnswer.

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