Can My Dog Eat Candy Canes? 

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We know the holiday season is a magical time for us humans, but it can be a little confusing (and sometimes risky) for our four-legged family members. One festive item you might be wondering about is the classic candy cane. Can your fur-baby share in the pepperminty goodness?

Well, we hate to be the Grinch here, but it’s important to know that candy canes and dogs don’t mix well. Before you share that red and white striped treat, let’s dive into why it’s not the best idea.

For any concerns about your pet’s health or diet, please give us a call at Broad Ripple Animal Clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, at (317) 257-5334. We’re here to help!



Why Candy Canes Are a No-No for Dogs

The Sugar Problem

First and foremost, let’s talk about sugar. Dogs, just like humans, can face some serious health issues when they consume too much sugar. Obesity, diabetes, and dental problems are just a few. Candy canes are basically pure sugar, and giving one to your dog could set them on a path to these complications.

Artificial Sweeteners and Xylitol

Now, you might be thinking, “What about sugar-free candy canes?” Well, unfortunately, those aren’t safe either. Many sugar-free treats contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Even a small amount can cause rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, and even liver failure.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Ever notice how your dog might get a little gassy or have an upset stomach after eating something they shouldn’t? Candy canes can cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Not only is that unpleasant for your pet, but it’s also not the kind of holiday memory you want to make.

Safe Holiday Treat Alternatives for Dogs

We know it’s hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes begging for a taste of your holiday treats, but there are safer options you can offer. Here are some dog-friendly alternatives that will keep the holiday spirit alive:

  • Dog-Friendly Biscuits: Many pet stores offer holiday-themed dog biscuits made with safe, natural ingredients.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Cooked, unseasoned sweet potato slices can be a nutritious treat.
  • Plain, Cooked Meat: A little bit of plain turkey or chicken can go a long way in satisfying your dog’s cravings—just avoid giving them the skin or bones.

When to Consult Broad Ripple Animal Clinic

We understand that accidents happen. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a candy cane, or anything else they shouldn’t have, give us a call right away at (317) 257-5334. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating potential toxicity, and we’re equipped to help.

It’s always a good idea to schedule a regular check-up for your pet, especially as we enter the holiday season, a time when foreign objects and toxic foods are more accessible to curious paws.

We hope this blog clears up any questions you had about dogs and candy canes. Keep those treats for human family members only, and let’s make this holiday season a safe and joyful one for everyone—four-legged pals included!

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Your pet is unique, unconditionally loving, and a valued part of your family, and Broad Ripple Animal Clinic recognizes the incredible bond you share. You can rely on our veterinarians and staff in Indianapolis, IN to be here for you, and be deeply committed to providing the highest level of care each time you visit. This includes giving you a central voice in the care of your pet and making you an integral part of the decision-making process.

Our AAHA-accredited animal hospital delivers a full spectrum of services, advanced technology, comprehensive pain management, and regenerative therapies to promote better healing.