Friday, 17 November 2017 14:16

Porky & Buddy Column: A Common Cause of Dog Poisoning

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Dear Porky and Buddy: My neighbor got home from work late the other night and discovered that his big goofy dog, Rudy, had eaten a bag full of chocolate chip cookies. He had to take him to the emergency vet and hundreds of dollars later Rudy is OK. Was that really necessary? They were only some cookies and he’s a big healthy dog. Signed, Ron

Dear Ron,

As you probably know, dogs will eat almost anything without regard to whether it is good for them or how it tastes or smells or whether they are actually hungry. To a dog, food is food and the more the better.

So, it is not at all surprising that Rudy ate a whole bag of cookies. It is lucky that Rudy’s owner realized what had happened and got him to a vet, and we suspect the cost was worth every penny.

Here’s what you need to know about chocolate. It can lead to illness and even death in dogs, and is one of the most common causes of dog poisoning. No wonder—humans love it and leave it around their homes for snacking—and dogs find it and do their own snacking.

If you think your dog might have eaten chocolate -- especially the darker kinds -- call your vet right away. Your vet will ask about your dog’s size, what kind of chocolate he ate, and when, and how much. One chocolate chip cookie can cause problems for a little dog, and a bag of them can cause problems for a big one like Rufus. Dark chocolates, baking chocolate, and dry cocoa powder are more dangerous than white or milk chocolate. But 1 ounce of milk chocolate (less than a quarter of a cup) per pound of body weight could be dangerous. Depending on your answers to those questions, your vet may ask you to induce vomiting and just watch, or you may have to bring him in for more aggressive treatment, like what Rudy apparently received.

If you think your dog ate chocolate, don't wait for warning signs. These can take 6 to 12 hours to show up and then it could be too late. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include extreme thirst, diarrhea, too much energy, pacing, panting, shaking, and seizures. The stimulants in chocolate stay in the body a long time. Early treatment will help your dog recover quicker and lower your costs,

The most common way vets treat chocolate poisoning is to use fluids and IV drugs. For example, they might use a drug called apomorphine to force vomiting, stomach pumping to flush the stomach with fluids, and medicine called activated charcoal to prevent the chocolate from getting into your dog’s blood.

Most dogs survive because of quick-acting owners, like Rudy’s, who know that even a little bit of chocolate can make your best friend ill. But you don’t want to go there if you can avoid it. Put your chocolate treats, the bowls with chocolate cake batter, the incredibly bitter and foul-tasting baking chocolate, all of it, out of harm’s way. You probably eat too much chocolate anyway (if that is possible).

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 2,07-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.

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