The holiday season is upon us and that means extra snacks laying around the house. You know your dog isn’t allowed to partake in the copious amounts of chocolate, cookies, or cocktails, but can your dog eat a candy cane? Unfortunately, the answer is no. If you want to give them a minty fresh treat, try any of these fun DIY options—or surprisingly tasty dental chews for dogs.
Can my dog eat candy canes? No, and here’s why:
- Sharp edges
- Alternative flavors
1. Candy canes may contain xylitol
Sugar-free candy canes sometimes contain xylitol, which can be deadly for your dog. Consuming this alternative sweetener can result in a drop in blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. Some signs that your dog has consumed something containing xylitol include:
- Loss of motor control
If you think your dog has eaten a sugar-free candy cane—or anything containing xylitol—get them to the vet right away.
2. Candy cane wrappers can hurt dogs
It’s not just the candy cane itself that can be hazardous to your dog. The plastic wrapper surrounding a candy cane can cause problems if ingested. Though your dog is likely to pass the wrapper, it may cause a blockage in their intestine—or even stick to their stomach lining. Your dog may have ingested a foreign object if they are:
- Have a decreased appetite
- Are straining to defecate
- Aren’t defecating at all
- Are lethargic
3. Candy canes can have sharp edges
In a dog’s mouth, a candy cane can easily be chomped into sharp pieces. Just like a chicken bone, a sharp candy cane sliver could damage a dog’s esophagus or intestines. If your dog eats a candy cane, keep an eye out for:
- A hacking cough
- A bloated belly
- Lethargy and loss of appetite
- Straining to defecate
4. Certain candy cane flavors are more dangerous
Candy canes aren’t always minty fresh. Chocolate candy canes are especially hazardous for your pet. Chocolate is incredibly toxic to dogs, as it affects their heart and nervous system. If your dog has consumed chocolate, get to the vet immediately and watch for the following:
- Elevated heart rate
Even though you might feel like a Scrooge, it’s best to stick with your dog’s usual, dog-friendly treats during the holiday season. For a candy cane-like experience, try a long-lasting chew. My dog is obsessed with these.
Hero image: Flickr user Pete Markham
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