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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would share in case anyone else finds themselves in the same boat (I hope not!).

We came home last night around 10pm to find a torn and empty bag of dark chocolate bark ripped to pieces on the floor (it was in a cabinet....sounds like someone went exploring the countertops while we were gone, which is NOT usual). We'd been gone since 5pm and had just bought the 20oz bag the day before from Costco, so it was nearly full. In other words, Abby ate over a pound of dark chocolate (with some pistachios and strawberries thrown in).

Now, I've had dogs get into the odd chocolate bar before and never been terribly worried, but this was a lot more than a chocolate bar, and it wasn't milk chocolate, either. It's pretty hard to get into trouble eating milk chocolate - apparently a dog needs to eat about an ounce per pound to get into trouble eating milk chocolate and five pounds of chocolate is a tall order, even for my girl! But dark chocolate can be serious trouble at just an ounce for every three pounds - Abby's only 60 pounds and ate about 20oz, which put her right in the middle of not-good territory.

We called the emergency vet at once and (per their instructions) gave her 3 TBSP of activated charcoal (we keep it on hand for our aquariums) orally. Luckily, this dog will eat ANYTHING, including three tablespoons of activated charcoal presented in a spoon.

They asked us to watch for symptoms like hyperactivity (ha! have they met Abby?), excessive panting, increased heart rate, or vomiting/diarrhea, and call them every hour with an update. She never showed any GI symptoms, but by around midnight, Abby had started breathing heavily and started getting zoomies (which is super unusual even for her at midnight!), so we called and they asked us to bring her in, since she had eaten a massive dose (they calculated about 83mg/kg - the lethal dose of combined caffeine and theobromie can be as low as 100 mg/kg in some dogs).

Her heart rate was about 150-170 when we got there; she was ridiculously happy (the vet said to imagine what it would feel like if I had drunk twenty energy drinks/Monster Rockstars in a row). She conned the vet techs into playing fetch with her. They went ahead and induced vomiting by injection, in part to see if they could get a better estimate of how much she had consumed (they didn't think it would help much clinically given that she likely ate the chocolate around 7pm and vomiting needs to be induced within an hour to be effective). Followed it up with an anti-emetic, and another full dose of activated carbon. They observed her for about fifteen minutes and then decided that they just weren't comfortable releasing her home, given the stress on her cardiovascular system and that we were twenty minutes away and likely couldn't get to the practice in time if she went into seizures or started showing heart arrhythmias.

So they hospitalized her overnight with IV fluid treatment to help flush the toxins through her body more quickly and also relieve stress on her cardiovascular system, and monitor her closely in case other symptoms emerged. They were particularly nervous because they just couldn't be sure of the timecourse; whether she was past the peak and was getting better, or if symptoms were still kicking in and these were just the initial stages (they somewhat suspected the latter; especially since I'm pretty sure Abby likely got into the chocolate near the end of the time she was gone, since that kind of behavior for her is very unusual and usually tied to her low grade separation anxiety).

We picked her up this morning and she was tired (she didn't sleep all night because she was hyped up on caffeine and theobromine!) but stable. They're not terribly concerned about pancreatitis, but they did ask us to feed her a bland diet for the next few days and gradually ramp up to her usual diet. We're also supposed to take her out frequently to help her eliminate the remaining theobromine/caffeine through her urine (apparently they can reabsorb it through their bladder if it stays in there).

Abby has pretty much been thrilled by this whole adventure. Her perspective seems to be "I ate delicious things, went on a fantastic car ride in the middle of the night when everyone is normally super boring, and was SO HAPPY - and then I made all these new friends! And they played BALL with me! And they made me throw up, because they LOVE me! And I got to stay all night with them, and now mom is making me ground beef and rice for breakfast and lunch and second lunch and dinner and I get to eat home-cooked snacks every few hours and we go on a walk every twenty minutes!! I want more chocolate!!!"

At one particularly morbid moment last night, I commented to a friend (on the phone) - "Well. If she doesn't make it through this, she will die a very very very happy dog."

I, on the other hand, am exhausted. Hide your chocolate, folks. Even our big girls and boys can get in trouble if it's dark enough and they eat enough of it. I was worried sick last night and so glad she's doing well this morning.

It was pretty hard to track down good solid information on chocolate poisoning in dogs last night when I was watching her, so I thought I'd post this here in case someone is in a similar position at some point. Hug your pups.
 

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"Abby has pretty much been thrilled by this whole adventure. Her perspective seems to be "I ate delicious things, went on a fantastic car ride in the middle of the night when everyone is normally super boring, and was SO HAPPY - and then I made all these new friends! And they played BALL with me! And they made me throw up, because they LOVE me! And I got to stay all night with them, and now mom is making me ground beef and rice for breakfast and lunch and second lunch and dinner and I get to eat home-cooked snacks every few hours and we go on a walk every twenty minutes!! I want more chocolate!!!"


Glad she doing fine.
This bit ^ really made me laugh though.
 

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Abby has pretty much been thrilled by this whole adventure. Her perspective seems to be "I ate delicious things, went on a fantastic car ride in the middle of the night when everyone is normally super boring, and was SO HAPPY - and then I made all these new friends! And they played BALL with me! And they made me throw up, because they LOVE me! And I got to stay all night with them, and now mom is making me ground beef and rice for breakfast and lunch and second lunch and dinner and I get to eat home-cooked snacks every few hours and we go on a walk every twenty minutes!! I want more chocolate!!!"
This part made me laugh lol. Go on a walk every 20 minutes...

Goodness you must have been so so worried sick! Glad to hear Abby is better. Thanks for sharing, if I ever see these symptoms and an empty chocolate box, I will know what it means...
 

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Oh Miss Abby girl......

What an experience, a very good reminder to us all.
Really glad to hear Abby is doing alright, hope she continues to do well.
 

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I am so glad she is okay. What girl doesn't love Chocolate? We went through this with Bayleigh at Easter. She ate our daughters entire basket of goodies she left on the floor in her room(wrappers included). One of which was one of those oversized kisses. She, too, was okay- but it was super scary!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone - it was so scary! Tag away - if it helps anyone else, it's so totally worth it. I am so glad she was okay, and glad that we went ahead and brought her in, as the vet was pretty concerned when they saw her. If you saw her today, you'd have no idea they were so worried last night. Silly Miss Abby is lounging on the bed now - probably dreaming of chocolate bon bons. ;)

(Her sheer joy last night was undeniable - she is my happy happy girl and seeing her happy makes my heart happy, even when I'm worried sick about her)
 

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Glad she is okay.

Many years ago (40 in October), our OES jumped up and pulled the Halloween candy off the top of the fridge (shorter than current models). Fortunately it was Tootsie Roll pops, so it was mostly hyperglycemia I worried about. Pre-internet and emergency vets, so we just toughed it out. Lots of water and frequent bathroom breaks.
Did I mention that she stacked the sticks and wrappers on top of the bag for us?

Much better than the time she hid the defrosting chicken.... for a week.
 
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