This holiday season, just say “no” to chocolate and “yes” to pumpkin for treats for your furry loved ones. Courtesy iStock

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Guest contributor Shawna Gibson from SHAW’S Paws Pet Services (@FetchPetSit, 817-296-1769) has been caring for their own (and other people’s) furkids for more than 14 years. Ever since our second annual Creature Comforts edition hit the stands back in August, we’ve been publishing her answers to your Critter Corrner questions in a Q&A format. (Think: Dear Abby.) Here’s some info about pumpkins for holiday season.

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I know dogs and cats can’t eat chocolate. What should you do if they accidentally get into the Halloween candy? And, are there some holiday treats that they CAN eat? -Christmas Carol


Short Answer:

Just say “no” to chocolate and “maybe” to pumpkin.


The Full Scoop:

Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine. If your pet consumes anything either in it, these chemicals can speed up the heart rate, stimulate their nervous systems, and cause them to become very ill. It all depends on the type of chocolate and the amount. On average, a concerning dose of chocolate is approximately 1 oz per lb of body weight. Since an average milk chocolate bar is 1.55 ounces or so, consuming even one chocolate bar can have serious consequences, especially for our smaller friends.

Consuming a small crumb of chocolate cake/cookie or a very small piece of a chocolate bar, on the other hand, probably won’t kill your pet, especially if it is a larger breed. If your pet has consumed chocolate, contact your vet; if that’s not an option, contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-213-6680 for advice.

Pumpkin can be a superfood for your pets. It contains essential micronutrients and fiber that dogs and cats need. It’s a natural stomach soother and helps remove excess water in their digestive tracts. While a great additive to a pet’s diet, remember that you CAN have too much of a good thing. Consult your vet for dosing to avoid harmful effects.

Canned pumpkin is the easiest answer. If you’re going with fresh, remove the seeds before using and bake them separately for “treats.” You can also find fun recipes for your furry loved ones at or


Do you have questions of your own? Please email


To see our Holidays Edition 2023 page by page in a flipbook format, click here.