Dr. Ashley Lim, Associate Veterinarian
There’s something about chocolate that makes it so tasty and appealing.
We all know we shouldn’t really have too much chocolate. However, there is one member of your family who should NOT be getting any chocolate at all and that is your dog.
Unfortunately, many of our beloved pooches adore the stuff and are happy to eat chocolate in any form. We have known dogs to steal and eat chocolate still in its foil wrapping from handbags. So much for keeping a secret stash.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine which are both stimulants that can cause an increase in heart rate, tremors, hyperactivity, seizures and even death if consumed in high enough quantities. As a rule of thumb, darker chocolate causes more severe signs due to the higher cocoa and stimulant content. Baking chocolate can be one of the worse for dogs. The toxicity also depends on the size of the dog and the amount of chocolate eaten.
So what happens if your dog has eaten some chocolate? Generally, if it is a small amount of milk chocolate, he is unlikely to be affected. However, if your little Maltese has eaten all the scavenger hunt Easter eggs, please ring a vet immediately. We can induce vomiting to prevent further absorption of the stimulants. If your dog is showing some signs of toxicity, he may need to be admitted, put on a drip and closely monitored. I vividly remember one year when a Boxer came in to see us after eaten 2kg worth of milk and dark chocolate eggs. He was very jittery and had a high heart rate. Thankfully, we managed to make him vomit up what seemed like a chocolate fountain worth of the stuff and he was able to go home under close supervision from his owner.
And so with that in mind, have a happy and safe festive season!