… hoppin’ down the bunny trail. Its Easter time and already we are receiving phone calls from worried clients whose pets have found the stash of Easter candy. Chloe, our family poodle, loves chocolate. She will even unzip my niece’s back pack, remove her lunch box and take it to the bedroom, unzip it, remove a candy bar from the lunch box, take off the wrapper and eat the candy bar. Unfortunately, this leads to a host of problems.
Chocolate, which contains xanthine (a chemical similar to caffeine), can be toxic to pets. It is dose dependent which means that larger doses are more toxic AND smaller pets are more susceptible to side effects. Additionally, the darker the chocolate is, the higher the xanthine content.
Problems caused by eating chocolate can range from mild excitement/agitation to vomit or diarrhea to significant tremors or seizures. Sometimes time will resolve the problem, but with more severe cases medicines may be needed for stomach upset or hospitalization is needed with IV fluids and medications to control the seizures and tremors.
It is very important to be sure that chocolate candy is kept out of reach of pets. Baskets should be kept up on a high counter or shelf and individual pieces offered to children when the family pet is not around. Don’t leave it in the child’s room or on a low table. If there is to be an Easter egg hunt, count each “egg” and know where each is located so that none get left behind for the family dog to find.
If your pet eats chocolate, please note the type of chocolate (dark, milk or white), solid or hollow or mixed with other ingredients, and the quantity eaten and call us immediately. We can determine if the dose is toxic and discuss steps to minimize problems.
And, of course, if you are unsure if the chocolate is toxic, we will be happy to (taste) test it for you and let you know what we think! Happy Easter – Dr. Connolly and the CAC doctors and staff.