The world and his dog know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. And I guess we all know that tinfoil is also very hazardous to dogs when ingested. Unfortunately, Hugo didn’t know that. He appears to be a gluttonous Staffordshire bull terrier of six-years-of age who could not resist diving into chocolate coins after his owner, Amie, briefly popped out to the local shops for some last-minute Christmas shopping.
On her return, Amie noticed the torn-up packets and bits of foil all over the floor with the chocolate gone. Disaster. Initially, Hugo seemed unaffected by his eating of six packets of Christmas chocolate coins. Although Amie was sick with worry when he began vomiting blood. He then had a seizure. Amie said that it was “terrifying”.
She immediately rushed him to the local branch of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). They run 48 pet hospitals around the UK. Hugo underwent emergency surgery. Firstly, they sedated him and an x-ray showed his stomach was full of foil. They removed six packets-worth of tin for rappers from his stomach.
Donna Southwould, a PDSA veterinary nurse said that he was kept in overnight after his surgery. Foods that are harmful to pets include, chocolate, mince pies, onions, raisins, grapes, some nuts, sage-and-onion stuffing and Christmas cake. Christmas can be a dangerous time for pets ?. Hugo needed an intravenous drip, medication and intensive nursing care after the operation. Southwould said that he was lucky to survive. She said:
“He was very lucky and could have died if he had not been treated in time. While he’s not completely out of the woods yet, thankfully Hugo is now at home on strict rest, and on the road to recovery.”
Comment: I should think that Amie was feeling a little bit guilty because she must have left those chocolate coins lying around. And my guess is that she knew that they were potentially dangerous to her dog.
Chocolate is dangerous to dogs and cats because it contains a substance called theobromine. I explain how that chemical harms cats and dogs on another page which you can read by clicking on this link. Essentially, dogs and cats cannot metabolise (i.e. digest and breakdown) theobromine which means that it builds up in their systems causing clinical signs linked with chocolate toxicity. The caffeine in chocolate can also harm.
The Merck Veterinary Manual provides a chocolate toxicity metre online which allows you to determine if your dog has consumed an amount of chocolate which is toxic and requires immediate attention. You can have a look at that useful tool by clicking on this link if you wish.
The severity of chocolate poisoning depends upon the amount and type of chocolate eaten. Darker chocolate carries a greater risk. Apparently, a small amount of milk chocolate does not need their owner to panic.
VCA Hospitals state that a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds only needs to eat 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 9 ounces of milk chocolate to potentially show signs of poisoning.
What should I do if my dog a box of chocolate? I think you know the answer! You call your veterinarian as a matter of urgency and get down there as quickly as possible. I just hope that you have insurance because it might be expensive. Just think about it: you leave some chocolate lying around the house, something which is very easy to do. And it could cost you thousands of pounds.
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs includes: seizures, tremors, irregular heart rate, heart attack, and internal bleeding. The signs are normally proceeded by extreme excitement.
If chocolate has been eaten by a dog quite recently, say within the last hour a veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting to remove the chocolate from their system. But don’t try and induce vomiting in your dog without veterinary advice. Of course, in Hugo’s case that was not a viable alternative because he had eaten a lot of tinfoil.