Photo courtesy of Oskey, Flickr Creative Commons
I think it was when I was working as a Wildland Firefighter when I first learned the saying that overconfidence can lead to complacency….and trouble.
Being immersed in the pet world, I am VERY aware of the danger Chocolate can pose for dogs. I hear messages all of the time about it. I know that chocolate can kill your dog. Bakers chocolate and dark chocolate are the worst. I have heard the message so many times that I pretty much ignore it because I am sure that I would always keep chocolate out of Chester and Gretel’s way….or so I thought.
About a week ago I sopped by the store and bought my friend two huge bittersweet chocolate truffles. These things were really big and looked delicious! I would say they weighed 4 oz. between the two.
I plopped the gift bag into the backseat. Gretel was in the passenger seat, sitting in her Lookout car seat and tethered to the seat belt. I ran into the bank to make a deposit.
When I came back, there was chocolate all over her blanket and the wrapper from the truffles sitting next to her. My heart sank. It turns out that this little bugger had strained and strained to make it to those truffles in the back seat and, because the car was not on and the seat belt freely extended, she made it. I went into triage mode.
I drove immediately to the drugstore and grabbed a syringe and bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting. I gave Gretel the recommended dose of 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight (so only 1 for her). note: I already knew of this method and had just recently had a refresher in my doggy first aid class.
I waited 15 minutes. I looked up more info on chocolate poisoning in dogs on my smartphone while I was waiting. She didn’t throw up. I gave her a second dose and waited again. Nothing. This girl as an iron gut.
I took her to the nearest emergency vet. They said when it has been over an hour since the chocolate was eaten, they don’t induce vomiting because it has already started to digest. They examined her, gave her some activated charcoal to soak up the toxins in her stomach and sent me home with her. Less than 5 minutes down the road she threw up everything…all over the inside of my new car. Nice.
I was relieved though. Since she threw most of the chocolate up, I knew we were out of major danger. Still, she spent the night restless, pacing and with a elevated heart rate. I spent the night not sleeping. Her symptoms progressively got better though and by the morning she was back to normal.
I am proof that, even if you know better, accidents do happen sometimes. My experience is a warning to be extra cautious even if you are sure you know what you are doing.
I am taking the suggestion given in my doggy first aid class and adding a little bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a syringe to my home and car doggy first aid kits. I am also going to buy some activated charcoal to put in there. I will always take her to the vet when something like this happens but immediate response can mean the difference between life and death.