Chocolate and Xylitol!
”Tis the season for yummy goodies to be laying about the house. Please be careful that your pooch doesn’t go snooping around and hit the jack pot or he may end up spending an unpleasant night at the vets.
Chocolate and cocoa contain a chemical called theobromine that can adversely affect the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. The caffeine in chocolate can also have toxic effects. But never fear,not all chocolate is created equal. My previous dog got into my brand new advent calendar and ate out all the chocolate goodies and never had a reaction. I chalk it up to the cheap low quality of the chocolates in my dollar store advent calendar.
Pure baking chocolate is most toxic, while milk chocolate requires a higher quantity to cause harm. A 20-pound dog can be poisoned after consuming about 2 ounces of baking chocolate, but it would take nearly 20 ounces of milk chocolate to cause harm. Ingestion of cacao bean mulch can also be toxic.
Signs include excitement or hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, vomiting,diarreah, abnormal heart rate/rhythm, drunken gait, hyperthermia, and coma.
Non-toxic doses of chocolate may still cause some gastrointestinal upset due to the fat content and acidity.
If your dog has ingested a toxic dose, your vet may induce vomiting or pump the stomach (gastric lavage). Treatment usually includes the administration of activated charcoal and aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications.
Another newer baddy in the candy world is Xylitol!
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener most often found in chewing gum and candy. It is also found in ‘sugar free’ healthy looking brands of peanut butter. In dogs, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Xylitol ingestion can also cause severe liver damage.
As few as two pieces of gum can lead to hypoglycemia in a 20-pound dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage.
Signs of toxicity can occur within 30-60 minutes and include weakness, drunken gait, collapse, and seizures.
Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. The affected dog will likely need to be treated intravenously with dextrose (sugar) and monitored closely for 1-2 days. Many dogs improve with supportive care if treated early enough, though liver damage can be permanent.
So please be sure to hide those goodies away safely from both the kids AND the dog!