The dog ate my chocolate – A learning opportunity.

January 2, 2008

Growing up I’ve always been taught that if a dog eats chocolate, he’ll die. That’s the extent of my veterinary knowledge.
So…what do you do when you come home late at night and find that your dog’s eaten 3 chocolate Santa Snickers bars and a plastic candy-cane tube filled with M&M’s while your wife and kids are out of town?

  1. Freak out
  2. Try desperately to come up with an excuse that absolves you of any blame for the family pet dying
  3. Call every vet in town to find out what you already knew, they’re all closed
  4. Freak out
  5. Hatch a plan to find a duplicate 2 year old boxer/lab mix at 12:30 on a Friday night
  6. Freak out

After you get those first six steps out of the way, settle down and call the emergency 24-hour vet hotline. Here in Grand Rapids you’ll be calling the Emergency Animal Clinic (Map and contact info here).

The nice lady will tell you that no, your dog won’t die from eating a chocolate chip that fell on the floor. In fact, your dog will need to eat a 1/2 oz. of chocolate for every pound of body weight for it to have a severe toxic reaction and a 1/4 oz. per pound for a mild toxic reaction.

From what I could scrape together from the mangled wrappers it turned out that our dog had only eaten about 4-5 oz. Not enough to kill her, not enough to freak out about, but enough that the vet had me feed her 4 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to make her yack out everything she ate. “Just pour it down her throat” she said. And 10 minutes later, out came the chocolate.

In the end, the dog lives, I spend the night cleaning up dog puke. Good times.

More info on dogs and chocolate here.