Dogs and Chocolate

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 11:00am
Keeping Your Dog Away from Your Valentine’s Chocolates

Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of the parenting blog Grown and Flown.

We do our best, as moms, to protect our kids from dangerous situations. If your family has pets, that same protective instinct applies to the four-legged members of the family. On Valentine’s Day my vigilance will be put to the test as I try to keep the red satiny boxes filled with chocolates away from our chocolate Labradors.

We have owned four Labs during our 25 years of marriage, and each one has been a terrible food thief. Though I’m annoyed when a pup snatches a peanut butter sandwich from the kitchen counter top, I don’t worry about the ingredients the dog ingested. However, if the Valentine’s chocolates are accidentally left on that same space in the kitchen, there can be cause for concern.

According to the ASPCA, “Chocolate can contain high amounts of fat and caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines. If ingested in significant amounts, chocolate can potentially produce clinical effects in dogs ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death in severe cases.”

If you discover that your dog has eaten chocolate, try to remain calm and ascertain these three things before you call your vet:

  • Determine if it was dark, milk or white chocolate
  • Try to estimate the ounces consumed
  • Know your dog’s weight

Better yet, take a look at the video below, created by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which illustrates helpful things to note about the dangers of quantities and types of chocolate. It’s helpful to watch the video now, before your dog has a chance to snack on any unsafe treats this Valentine’s Day.

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Please comment on whether chocolate can be poisonous to cat as well as dogs.

ASPCA Animal Po...

SGH, while dogs tend to be most commonly affected largely due to their eating habits, chocolate can indeed be toxic to cats, as well as other pets. Depending on the type and amount ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, panting, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures—and even death in severe cases. Because of its toxic potential, we would advise against allowing your cat to consume chocolate.

Jessica Reyes

My dog died due to chocalate overdose. :( It happened last year on Valentine's Day and I had left a box of chocalates on my counter.. I suppose that he got the box and ate them. Then the past few days he started to vomit and things of such. Then later he dies. We assembled a funeral and put him in a dog cemetary so I understand the danger of dogs and chocolate. I warn people to NOT feed ANY chocolate to dogs if you want themto live. Thank You.

grown and flown

Jessica, that must have been tragic for you. So sorry for your loss.

that guy over there

some odd reason my dog is in fact highly tolerant to chocolate. 2 years ago he got to some of it a bit after halloween and he was whistlin' like a daisy. (he can't actually whistle fyi) now don't get me wrong, i don't feed him chocolate daily, or at all for that matter.

Grown and Flown

Depends on the size of your dog, the amount and type of chocolate. Glad he was ok.

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