The safety of candy for dogs is a question that many pet owners may have, especially during holidays like Halloween or Christmas when there is an abundance of sweets around the house. While sharing a piece of candy with your furry friend may be tempting, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers of giving candy, such as peppermint, to dogs. An occasional piece of candy may not put your dog in grave danger, but candy is not a natural part of a dog’s diet and should be avoided as much as possible. Dogs do not have the same nutritional needs as humans and feeding them sugary treats can lead to health problems. Most importantly, peppermint candy may contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is poisonous to our furry friends. 

Clinical Signs of Xylitol Poisoning

Peppermint candy may seem like a harmless treat, but it can be toxic to dogs. While the minty flavor may appeal to humans, dogs have a much more sensitive digestive system and can suffer serious side effects if they consume sugar-free peppermint candy. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is used in many sugar-free candies, gums, baked goods, and more. When ingested by dogs, xylitol can cause a rapid insulin release, leading to a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and potentially liver failure. In severe cases, xylitol poisoning can be fatal.

Other symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Weakness
  • Body tremors
  • Seizures

Treatment for Xylitol Poisoning

If you suspect your dog has ingested peppermint candy, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Call your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for medical help. Once you get to the clinic your vet may induce vomiting for rapid decontamination. Your vet will administer IV fluids and medications to ease symptoms. Frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels and liver values is required during care. Avoid taking a trip to the animal hospital during the holiday season and take the right steps to keep your beloved furry friend safe!