Pet Health & Candy
Your Pets and Candy
You may want to share your favorite candy with your pet, but please do not. In fact, some foods and related products may even be harmful for your pet. Please keep such foods well out of the reach of inquisitive pets.
If you suspect your pet has eaten any of the following, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at
Cocoa and Chocolate
Your pet may love the taste of chocolate, but don't let him have any. Chocolate can be dangerous for many animals, but especially dogs, because it contains theobromine, a stimulant naturally occurring in the cacao bean. Theobromine is chemically similar to caffeine. While safe for humans, other species, such as dogs, lack a specific enzyme and can't metabolize theobromine. Consumption of theobromine by animals can lead to seizures, convulsions, toxicity and even death in some animals.
If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, immediately contact your veterinarian.
Theobromine content in Hershey’s products.
The Hershey Company does not manufacture or market cocoa mulch. However, we periodically receive questions concerning cocoa mulch and pets.
Cocoa mulch consists of cocoa bean shells. Although not a food or a food ingredient, cocoa mulch, like chocolate products, contains naturally occurring theobromine and caffeine. As previously mentioned, animals like dogs are often sensitive to the theobromine, which can lead to toxicity and even death in some animals.
Dogs and other animals are often attracted by the pleasant aroma from cocoa shell mulch. Because it can be harmful to animals if ingested, think carefully about where you choose to apply the mulch and supervise your pets. These steps can effectively eliminate the possibility of animal consumption in a quantity sufficient to cause adverse affects.
If your pet has eaten cocoa shell mulch, immediately contact your veterinarian.
Macadamia nuts have been reported to cause adverse effects in some animals, including dogs. For more information, please read the ASPCA article “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.”
If you suspect your pet has eaten macadamia nuts, immediately contact your veterinarian.
Raisins (and grapes) also have been reported to cause adverse effects in dogs. For more information, please read the ASPCA article “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets”.
If you suspect your pet has eaten raisins, immediately contact your veterinarian.
Xylitol occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables. It is used as a sweetener in sugar free and reduced sugar foods including chewing gum and candy. ICE BREAKERS ICE CUBES Chewing Gum and ICE BREAKERS FROST Mints are made with xylitol.
Xylitol causes insulin release in animals, which leads to hypoglycemia, depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure have also been associated with some cases of xylitol consumption.
If you suspect your pet has eaten a product with xylitol, immediately contact your veterinarian.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - Animal Poison Control Center
2Milgrom, P., Ly, K. A., Roberts, M. C., et al. (2006). Mutans streptococci dose response to xylitol chewing gum. Journal of Dental Research, 85(2), 177-181.