For many people, the holiday season has become inextricably linked with eating and drinking. Unfortunately, too many dogs seem to be partaking in the festivities, particularly when it comes to eating dangerous amounts of chocolate. A British study in the journal Veterinary Record has revealed that between 2012 and 2017, dogs were four times more likely to be treated for chocolate "intoxication" during the Christmas period than on a typical, non-festive day. Although dogs enjoy the taste of chocolate, it can be dangerous due to the presence of theobromine, a stimulant that they are unable to break down quickly. Theobromine can cause dogs to suffer from vomiting, agitation, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death.
Step away from the chocolate, Fido:
- Dogs being treated for chocolate intoxication may be given activated charcoal to halt further absorption. Vomiting may also be induced, if needed.
- The Easter Bunny also poses a danger for dogs -- canines are twice as likely to fall ill from chocolate intoxication on Easter than on a normal day.
- If your dog has wolfed down a box of Christmas chocolates behind your back, you should inform your vet immediately, and explain the type and quantity of chocolate that the pet has eaten. Dark chocolate can be especially dangerous.