Unfortunately my own dog is the impetus for this post. He is sitting in the ER as I type, after having eaten about three bars of extra dark chocolate. Chocolate I was saving because two of the three bars were hand-crafted with super high cocoa levels. One bar was 95.3% cocoa.
Basically Otto had consumed a dangerous level of chocolate. The scary thing is that I may not have taken him to the vet because he didn’t seem to be in any distress. By the time I came home to find what he had done, at least 8 hours had passed. I only called Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) because I wanted to know if it was too late to induce vomiting. (It was. A couple hours would have been one thing, but eight hours meant there was no taking it back.)
The common signs of chocolate toxicity are:
- Increased thirst
- Panting and/or restlessness
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle tremors
- Even death
The only thing I noticed was that Otto was thirstier than usual. Sure he had a couple soft stools, but he was happy and acting totally normal… But wait, did I see a his leg tremor a little bit while he was drinking, or was I being paranoid? I wasn’t sure, and was tempted to wait and see. It was after hours, of course.
But, I kept thinking about that one bar — over 95% cocoa! I already knew that dark chocolate was way worse than regular chocolate, but what about something like 95%? (Here is a Chocolate Toxicity Meter for Dogs calculator you can use to quickly gauge the general toxicity levels you may be dealing with.)
I took him in. His heart rate was twice the normal levels, and when they took him back to take his vitals, tremors were starting. Chocolate poisoning can take hours to develop and symptoms can last days. And since it was too late to induce vomiting or administer activated charcoal, all that could be done was to administer IV fluids to try to get the theobromine (and caffeine) in the chocolate out of his system.
So the waiting begins. I will be picking my boy up in about 10 hours, and while it is very rare for a dog to die from chocolate poisoning, it can happen. As my own dog has demonstrated, the symptoms may be hard to see. If I hadn’t known exactly what he ate, I may have never taken him in — he seemed happy, calm and pretty darn normal.
And how does this relate to Weims? Well, any breed of dog would eat chocolate, but obviously sometimes even I need a reminder that Weims are bad about get into stuff, and are they are just generally BAD when they are bored, no matter how well behaved we think they are or how old they are. 😳