So...in celebration of this day of "sweets for the sweet." I had just finished making a double batch of double dark chocolate brownies (with chocolate chips added just for kicks) to treat my co-workers. Tightly sealed in an airtight plastic container they were safely (or so I thought) esconced on the kitchen table. The usual rush to get ready for work, round up the pups to put them up...you guessed it. Chocolate crumbs and swollen bellies told a tale of thievery!
Knowing time was NOT on my side I immediately threw the three guilty culprits into the car, furiously dialing my vet as I went. Several hundred dollars and a large quantity of charcoal later this story has a happy ending, but one with a very serious moral. Zoe, the main culprit, had to have the contents of her stomach pumped and nearly died. Sir Sirius, scarfer of slightly fewer of the toxic treats, was induced to vomit and felt pretty lousy for the rest of the day. Rambo was apparently unable to get in on the fun and so suffered no ill effects.
What made this already scary incident much more serious was the amount of dark chocolate Zoe consumed. Any type of chocolate is toxic to dogs, but dark chocolate contains the highest levels of theobromine, the chemical which can cause death or at the least, very serious illness, in dogs.
How much is too much?
Dr. Michael Levine, DVM, offered the following formula:
- Milk Chocolate: This type contains about 40 mgs. of theobromine per 1 oz. of chocolate.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: This type contains about 150 mgs. of theobromine per 1 oz. of chocolate.
- Dark Chocolate: This type contains about 400 mgs. of theobromine per 1 oz. of chocolate.
- Milk Chocolate: A toxic dose is one ounce for each one pound of body weight.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: A toxic dose is one ounce for each three pounds of body weight.
- Dark Chocolate: A toxic dose is one ounce for each nine pounds of body weight.
What to do?
Take your dog to the vet or emergency clinic immediately! A dog digests the contents of its stomach in two hours, so vomiting must be induced before the chocolate is digested and the contents enter the lower intestine.
The moral of this story is simple: enjoy this special day and the chocolate treats that come with it, BUT MAKE SURE YOUR DOGS DON'T!