On the first day of Christmas my pet dog gave to me…a chocolate decoration from the tree. Whilst you may not think that one chocolate decoration from your Christmas tree could cause a problem, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Firstly, the type of chocolate is key. The amount of cocoa present is crucial in potential poisoning cases. Dark chocolate will have a higher cocoa content than milk or white chocolate and is especially dangerous, but we would still recommend calling your vet if you think your pet has eaten some.
Key things that the vet will want to know are:
- how much chocolate you think has been eaten (an approximate weight is really helpful to us)
- how long it has been since you think it was eaten
- the cocoa content of the product (usually listed on the packet as a percentage)
- how much your dog weighs
With this information the vet can quickly assess the risk and establish the correct course of action for your pet. This could involve bringing the pet to the surgery for blood tests or to make him/her sick, or it could be as simple as monitoring your pet at home for signs of toxicity. These symptoms can include tremors, excessive salivating and an increased heart rate. Or it might just be that your mischievous monkey has a poorly tummy for a few days and feels a little bit sheepish!
In any case, always call your vet for advice: we are here 24 hours a day for you, even at this time of year, and the earlier we know that something may have been snaffled, the easier it is for us to treat the problem.