Easter is right around the corner and we all know what sorts of delicious goodies that cute little hoppin’ rascal likes to hide around the house and put on our countertops. We as humans are very appreciative of the endeavor, but our curious little fur babies are often more at risk than we realize. Many human treats are toxic to dogs and cats, but chocolate is one of the worst ones. Clinical signs range from minimal agitation and GI upset to seizures and coma to eventually death. Factors affecting the severity of the intoxication are the weight of the animal, the type of chocolate, and the amount ingested. So, if your animal eats some of the Easter Bunny’s offerings, call your veterinarian ASAP. Time is really of the essence because recent ingestions are often best handled by causing the pet to vomit. There are safe ways to do this in hospital and there is the old-fashioned way of giving hydrogen peroxide. It should be noted that although often effective, hydrogen peroxide is a caustic substance and can cause secondary esophagitis (inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus) which can in turn cause problems for your pet. If ingestion occurred hours ago, we have some really neat stuff we can give your pet orally that can help decrease absorption further down the GI tract since it would be unlikely that any chocolate would still be in the stomach after that long. IV fluids are also extremely important in the recovery from any intoxication as well.
Dilution is the solution to pollution! Prevention is the preferred option so keep that chocolate out of reach. Early intervention is the next best plan. Let’s keep “Death by chocolate” nothing more than the title of a really good ice cream flavor and keep that Easter Bunny in business.
See the chocolate toxicity meter at www.petmed.com/dog/chocolate-toxicity to get an idea of how little chocolate it takes, especially dark chocolate, to do harm.