Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Ingestion of Candy an Emergency?

45.95% survey participants check ingestion of candy as being an emergency.

The survey result has an interesting symmetry because the odds of a dog eating candy being an emergency are probably 50/50.

It all depends on the type and amount of candy.

First, let's go over the mechanical dangers. 

Along with other things of "just the right size," candy can be a choking hazard. The only difference between people and dogs is access. Choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death in people. Hard candy is one of the culprits, particularly in children. A dog could choke on a candy just like a human can.

Depending on a size, a bag the candy comes in can be a suffocation hazard. Particularly the large Halloween candy packages. Just like any other snack bags.

Sugarless candy can be deadly

We already went over the xylitol toxicity earlier--this is a major poison for dogs. This puts candy along with gum, some brands of peanuts and other items which now contain xylitol. See a comprehensive list on You'll be shocked how many things can be hiding this dog killer.

Dr. Nicholas has launched a petition #GetXylitolOut to get xylitol out of sugar-free gums.

Chocolate candy is next on the list

Depending on the amount of theobromine, chocolate toxicity fades next to xylitol. It takes only a tiny amount of xylitol to be deadly. For chocolate toxicity, you can check out petMD's  toxicity meter.

Ingestion of high-fat candy can also lead to pancreatitis.

Make no mistake, extremely painful, severe pancreatitis too can be potentially fatal. It can also lead to enough damage to the pancreas to cause diabetes or EPI.

Those are just some dangers candy poses to dogs. So while potentially harmless, candy can also be potentially very harmful or fatal.

Don't take the chance and keep candy away from your dog.

Related articles:
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey Results
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Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.

An award-winning guide to better understanding what your dog is telling you about their health, Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, is available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.


  1. Candy is something I wouldn't be sure if it was an emergency or not. Good to know.

  2. Such important information. Xylitol is so bad...I'm glad to hear Dr. Nicholas is spearheading #GetXylitolOut. I hope it is a successful campaign. Pinned this post!

    1. Yes, it is horrible. It would be fantastic if the petition succeeded.

  3. Great post Jana! People don't realize just how dangerous candy & snacks can be to pets. I actually know of a dog that died after eating a giant Toblerone chocolate bar and a puppy that suffocated in a potato chip bag. These were such tragic incidences, I'll never forget them. I hope you'll re-share this post as we get close to Halloween as well, that is a dangerous time for pets!

  4. On December 23, Theo got into a large bag of M&Ms. I wasn't sure how much he ate, so we watched him for a while, since they were milk chocolate. However, eventually he became incredibly restless and was throwing up, so I decided to take him to the emergency vet. Fortunately, he is okay.

    I have noticed that some of the gum that used to contain xylitol, doesn't seem to be on the market anymore.

    1. I don't buy gum so I don't know but Dr. Nicholas has a whole list of all products ... it's quite a list.

      With chocolate ingestion, it is always best to act rather wait whether symptoms show. Once symptoms show it means stuff is already absorbing; it's much better to get it out before that.

  5. I'll put your book on my Amazon wish list. I know there's different concentrations of chocolate and it will depend on the size of the dog. Other than occasionally getting a stray M&M, my cockers haven't had any chocolate, although Chipper did find a sucker the other day at the park!

    1. Aww, thank you. Let me know how you like it when you read it. A stray M&M won't hurt anybody unless they start putting xylitol in it also.

  6. Candy is definitely something you need to keep out of reach of your dog. It's better to be safe than sorry. We had one bout of pancreatitis with my dog and we've had to be extra careful to keep away fatty foods ever since.

    1. Yeah, not something people are likely to consider - besides other issues - fat content in some of the candy.

  7. Great post and I love how you remind us of all these dangers, I would think candy would be poisonous and as you pointed out especially choking wise. As it is only me and Layla in this house I do not worry that much but when out and about I make sure she does not pick up anything from the streets.

    1. Not all candy is toxic but even those are of no benefit.

  8. Hyper sensitive to this. First because my little one is 3.5 pounds so it hits his little body FAST. and of course we are into nutrition and fitness so we try to keep that sort of stuff out of the home for US! Let alone our wee one.

  9. I also wouldn't be sure if it's emergency but in cases such as this one I would take my pet to the vet just to make sure everything is alright. Better safe then sorry :)

    1. Better not having a dog getting into that kind of stuff at all :-)

  10. I knew about avoiding chocolate, but didn't think about the other types of candy. I guess the best rule is to keep candy away from dogs (and cats)!


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