Puppy love – valentine’s day with your dog
Whether you’re having date night with your favourite human or your favourite dog, show some love!
If you are gifting some classic valentine’s chocolates or flowers today, please keep your dog safely away from these human-only treats. That just means more chocolate for you…a win-win for everyone! If you are concerned that your dog has found some chocolate, it is always best to contact your vet.
Why is chocolate bad for dogs?
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a methylxanthine. It is a major alkaloid in the plant Theobroma cacao and produces stimulation to the central nervous system in dogs. It can also cause cardiac and skeletal muscles to contract more than normal, which can be dangerous for your dog’s health. Dark chocolate is considered the worst for dogs as it contains the highest concentration of theobromine, followed by milk chocolate. Cocoa beans and cocoa powder will have even higher concentrations of this. Don’t forget that your fancy Valentine’s chocolates may have other fillings that are toxic to dogs, such as raisins, peanuts, or coffee beans. Peanut butter treats often contain xylitol, a sweetener, which is also toxic. As mentioned before, it is best to eat these all yourself!
There are some common clinical signs that your dog may present if they have ingested chocolate including vomiting, abdominal tenderness, hypersalivation, and panting (rapid breathing). Your vet will be able to spot other signs such as muscle rigidity and tachycardia. To treat your dog, your vet may help them to vomit and give them some medication. It is important to keep your dog hydrated during this treatment. Ideally, your dog should be made to be sick within two to three hours of ingestion, but sometimes it is still possible to vomit it up after a longer period of time. You’ll also want to check if they have eaten any chocolate wrappers or bits of foil and inform your vet.
As dog people, we know that it can be difficult to keep track of what your dog can and cannot eat, and what items in your home may be toxic. The Pet Poison App is a useful and free tool to help you check specific flowers and plants – especially if you have these around your home over Valentine’s Day. It’s worth mentioning that lilies are toxic to cats, so it is best to keep them away from a cat household.