Did you know that a box of chocolates could lead to a hefty vet bill – or worse? There are even stories of dogs nibbling on Christmas cake and becoming poorly. So what foods shouldn’t dogs and other pets eat?
I was aware that chocolate wasn’t good for dogs, but I recently experienced first hand just how dangerous it can be.
My mischievous 11 month old puppy found his way into a tucked-away box of dark chocolates and wolfed down the remaining contents, including the foil wrapping. The cardboard box wasn’t quite to his taste, so he chewed it up and spat it out on to the carpet.
A few hours later he was very hyperactive and started panting a lot. After realising what had happened, I rushed him down to the vet where he was immediately hospitalized for induced vomiting, put on an IV drip and given activated liquid charcoal to dry and absorb as much of the toxins as possible.
After an anxious 24 hours, my puppy recovered and he was allowed to come home. Not all dogs, according to the vet, are so lucky.
Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?
The active ingredient that causes the problem is theobromine, and the darker the chocolate the higher the amount. There’s no antidote, so if your dog has eaten even a small amount, vets advise immediate treatment, even if the symptoms haven’t appeared yet. Oh, and it doesn’t just have to be from a box of chocolates. Gardeners with dogs might have to be extra careful, as cocoa mulch is said to contain theobromine.
A survey by Dogs Trust this year revealed that more than half of pet dogs have eaten chocolate intended for humans, and over one in 10 became ill as a result. Of these, 8% died due to the effects and nearly a quarter required urgent veterinary treatment.
Foods dogs can’t eat – myth or reality?
Anxious friends rallied round with support when they found out about my puppy’s close call. But they also shared other gruesome tales of grapes, raisins, sultanas also being potentially toxic to dogs. One knew of a dog who’d died after being given a piece of Christmas cake (containing sultanas).
So, it seems that if you want to keep your furry friend safe, you may need to do more than lock away your chocolates. You might need to sacrifice your waistline and finish the last piece of currant cake. Have you heard any stories of foods that aren’t good for dogs, or other pets?