My Dog Loves Chocolate | Boulder Animal Hospital

Feb 12, 2022

My Dog Loves Chocolate | Boulder Animal Hospital |

My dog Biltzen loves chocolate.  Dark chocolate preferably.  He’s gotten into it about half a dozen times and nearly killed himself thrice. Blitzen is pretty much game to eat anything…peanut butter, horse poop, veggies, dead animal carcasses, blueberries, an entire dinner table spread if the dinner table is left unattended for 20 seconds.  But chocolate holds a special place in his heart.  I know this because he’s gotten onto the counter in the pantry several times.  The pantry has a wide variety of snacking options, but he always chooses the chocolate first…somehow…even though it’s six feet off the ground and he’s only 14″ high.  The worst time was when he grabbed a bar of 80% chocolate on my wife’s birthday. She found him later that day feeling unwell, brought him into me at work, and things got pretty dicey for about 12 hours.  The even worse time was when we came home from a soccer game and discovered he’d devoured an entire 16 oz. bag of 66% dark chocolate chips.  Note…that’s enough to kill him four times.  His body was showing severe signs of chocolate toxicity (tremors with a heart rate like a hummingbird).  We saved his fluffy little butt, but it was a close one as well.  It was a few days until he was shopping in the kitchen again.

I know it’s disappointing to read about a veterinarian who’s had their dog OD on chocolate more than once.  I’m disappointed just writing it.  But, I have several semi-valid excuses.  The first is that there are kids in my house and Halloween happens.  The second is that my wife has a strong affection for dark chocolate and keeps our home well-stocked.  The third is that I have a highly motivated and opportunistic chocolate seeking animal that can lure you into a false sense of security because he’d never do anything remotely wrong when someone is around.  And finally that we’re human, and humans screw up.

Dogs eat stuff they shouldn’t all the time.  We see chocolate ingestion and toxic levels of medication ingestion all the time.  For most things the routine is to get them to us (or an emergency vet) ASAP, we make them puke, detox them with liquid oral charcoal, and depending on the substance we keep them on IV fluids for 2-3 days while watching certain blood work parameters.  For some cases puking alone is adequate.  Then there’s the other stuff they eat that makes no sense at all.  For example, I once had to do surgery on a Golden Retriever who ate a glass mason jar.  Chewed it up and swallowed the entire thing.  He lived through the ordeal but I’m still not exactly sure how.  Underwear is another common one.  Socks, legos, marbles, toys, rocks, bones, etc.  They go right down the hatch and get stuck in the intestines, and there’s no option other than going in surgically to remove them.  I’ve had to do this with Blitzen as well (he ate a rag), so I can sympathize if you’ve personally been through this.

The moral of the story is just do your best to keep these things out of reach.  When it happens, it’s easy to judge someone or be terribly hard on yourself, but it’s also the reality of living with a dog.  Regarding chocolate, there’s multiple online chocolate toxicity calculators that can help you figure out if your dog is in danger.  Just put in their weight, the type of chocolate, the quantity eaten, and it tells you the severity.

Click here to check one out.

For large quantities of medications or weird stuff that you think may be toxic, you can call us or the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline.  There’s a fee, but it’s less expensive than a vet visit and it may save you one altogether.  For the other stuff that may get stuck, there are times we can make them vomit it back up, but it depends on what it is.  That glass for example would’ve been a bad item to attempt to expunge via vomiting.

So, for all you folks out there with rascal dogs who you love so much but still eat really really dumb things, I feel you.  We’re here to help out.

My Dog Loves Chocolate | Boulder Animal Hospital | Rise Vet is Boulder’s new breed of veterinary care located in downtown Boulder.  Call us today to make an appointment for your pet.  We are located in the Ideal Market Plaza, right next to Sweet Cow Ice cream and are excited to open our doors to you and your pets.  We serve pet lovers in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Superior and surrounding Boulder County.