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Scrubs to Snuggles - Pepperesco

Can dogs eat Chcolate?

Welcome back to my blog series. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that this series is about my life as a pet parent and a veterinarian. More about being a pet parent. You must be wondering why I would title this blog as Pepperesco. Well, I combined the words Pepper and Fiasco because too many mishaps have been happening since the time I got her. Mainly because she’s supremely naughty, curious and I am overly paranoid. 

I guess when you work in the healthcare sector, paranoia is bound to happen because you end up imagining the worst. In today’s story, I want to talk about how we prevented Pepper from chocolate toxicity because of my paranoia. In the clinics, we used to get way too many cases of toxicity and foreign bodies. When I say foreign bodies, I mean that we used to operate on dogs who would have swallowed the weirdest of things like spectacles, tennis balls, mango kernels and what not. It might not sound life threatening but all these objects can create obstructions in an animal’s intestine and cause death if not operated in time. 

Today’s blog was not supposed to be about chocolate toxicity but since the incident happened, I thought I’d write about it. It was a normal day but at a different house. We were at our relative's house and I was in a meeting upstairs. My brother-in-law told me that Pepper was trying to enter my room but it was closed. 10 minutes later, my husband rushes up saying Pepper ate some chocolates. Since my meeting was important, I couldn’t react. As soon as it got over, we went downstairs and examined the wrappers. She hadn’t eaten one chocolate, she had eaten EIGHT of them. 

From the size of it, it felt like the chocolate wouldn’t have been more than 1-2g each but we decided to check the exact weight anyway. This was a problem because we didn’t have a weighing scale. So we found the weight online. Each chocolate was 8 g, which means, our tiny little idiot dog had consumed around 64 g chocolate.. And PANIC mode on. Being in a different, not very developed city can be annoying when you need medical help for your pets. The treatment protocols here aren’t as developed as one would hope. I went around looking for a hospital that might have apomorphine (a drug that we use to induce emesis) but couldn’t find it. Then I went to a vet, who was btw a surgeon and he said.. Ah, it doesn’t seem like she’s unwell. You don’t need to treat her and of course that made me furious because I am a vet as well and I wanted a certain line of treatment. Anyway, he was well within his rights so I took the matter in my own hands. 

I went to a shop and found a medicine to induce vomiting. Calculated the dose and gave it to Pepper and she vomited in like 2 minutes. SO MUCH CHOCOLATE came out along with 2 WRAPPERS! That would have definitely killed my 4.8 kg dog. But of course, this was not the end of it. When you dehydrate or induce vomiting , you also have to rehydrate and ensure that the GI linings remain intact. And that was a task because Pepper is an aggressive puppy when it comes to medications. 3 people had to hold her while I rehydrated her. 

Anyway, it’s all over now. Pepper is okay, back to wanting to steal things and eat any crap that comes her way. This definitely taught me a lesson - I need to be extra careful with her and toxic foods and things that can be swallowed. Today, it was chocolates and tomorrow it can be grapes, who’s to say!

Moral of the story - Be aware of what is okay for your pets but also keep everything that is hazardous away from them. Pets are not as smart as us and it’s not necessary that toxicity can always be prevented. I could have realized after 6 hours that she ate chocolate and that would have been late. 

I guess I am writing this for myself. For a moment there, I was scared. But when I used to practice and treat other people’s dogs, I wasn’t as scared. I was determined to treat and make animals okay.  Being a pet parent is fun but it’s also scary. 


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