Publication Date: 
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 11:00

Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of the parenting blog Grown and Flown.

We do our best, as moms, to protect our kids from dangerous situations. If your family has pets, that same protective instinct applies to the four-legged members of the family. On Valentine’s Day my vigilance will be put to the test as I try to keep the red satiny boxes filled with chocolates away from our chocolate Labradors.

We have owned four Labs during our 25 years of marriage, and each one has been a terrible food thief. Though I’m annoyed when a pup snatches a peanut butter sandwich from the kitchen counter top, I don’t worry about the ingredients the dog ingested. However, if the Valentine’s chocolates are accidentally left on that same space in the kitchen, there can be cause for concern.

According to the ASPCA, “Chocolate can contain high amounts of fat and caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines. If ingested in significant amounts, chocolate can potentially produce clinical effects in dogs ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death in severe cases.”

If you discover that your dog has eaten chocolate, try to remain calm and ascertain these three things before you call your vet:

  • Determine if it was dark, milk or white chocolate
  • Try to estimate the ounces consumed
  • Know your dog’s weight

Better yet, take a look at the video below, created by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which illustrates helpful things to note about the dangers of quantities and types of chocolate. It’s helpful to watch the video now, before your dog has a chance to snack on any unsafe treats this Valentine’s Day.

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