Easter morning was a bit of disaster at my house. Jester, our black lab mix, helped himself to two 16-ounce milk chocolate bunnies from stocked baskets the Easter Bunny had mistakenly left on the couch, within easy reach of a dog nose.
Fortunately, Jester is a large dog and it was milk chocolate. Other than some mild intestinal distress and a very wired pooch, things went okay. We were lucky!
Recently, another patient at Atlantic Veterinary Hospital wasn’t so lucky. A 26-pound dog, he helped himself to a 3-ounce 70% dark chocolate he found in a purse left on the floor. The dog suffered a severe reaction which would have been life threatening if he hadn’t received immediate, life-saving treatment.
His wise owner called us right away, and after calculating the chocolate-to-dog-weight ratio, we advised immediate veterinary care. The owner arrived in minutes; we induced vomiting and started emergency care, but it was a rough afternoon for the dog and owner until the signs of toxicity improved over several hours. Fortunately, another happy ending.
Theobromide and caffeine, found in most chocolates, are toxic to dogs and cats if they ingest enough – and it doesn’t take much, especially in small pets that eat dark or baking chocolate.
If you find evidence your pet has eaten chocolate, please seek immediate medical attention.
During business hours, clients may call Atlantic Veterinary Hospital for advice, at (206) 323-4433.
After hours, call the nearest veterinary emergency facility or the ASPCA National Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
You’ll need to know your pet’s weight, the type and amount of chocolate eaten, and when the pet ate the chocolate.
Here’s an article with more information about chocolate toxicity in dogs and cats.