Veterinarians warn about busy, deadly time of year for pets

Veterinarians say the holidays, including Valentine's Day, are one of the busiest times of the year and can be deadly for dogs.

Dr. Kelly Clark with Nashville Veterinary Specialist and Animal Emergency says she sees an increase in the number of dogs coming in with chocolate toxicity. The smaller the dog the more dangerous. 

“It’s really common, especially around the holidays, because people are getting a lot of chocolate in their house and right after the holidays when everything goes on sale," said Clark. 

Clark says dark chocolate, semi-sweet, and baker's chocolate are more dangerous than white chocolate. 

“There’s two toxic components to chocolate. One is the caffeine and is the Theobromine and both of those are more concentrated in darker, pure chocolates than the white chocolate, which is more sugar and butter than anything else," said Clark. 

WSMV Managing Editor Seth Andrews' 3-year-old dog had a close call with chocolate toxicity last Easter.

“All the kids got Easter baskets filled with chocolate," said Andrews. “Woke up the next morning to find that foil they’re wrapped in, pieces of that all over the living room.”

Andrews' dog, Marshall, showed non of the common chocolate toxicity symptoms including throwing up, restlessness, and diarrhea.

“It can speed up their heart rate. They can have seizures or tremors or go into a coma. It can be fatal in really high doses," said Clark. 

Thankfully, Marshall was okay.

Clark says it's best to call the vet within four hours of when the dog ate the chocolate. You can also try to induce vomiting by giving the dog one teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide for every 10 pounds the dog weighs. If it doesn't work the first time, you can try once more.

“Another really important thing with chocolate toxicity is to take your pet outside to urinate frequently because the toxic components can be reabsorbed through the bladder," said Clark. 

Clark warns pet owners about sugar-free candy that often contains Xylitol, a sugar substitute that can also be poisonous for dogs. She also says there are a few dog breeds that you should never try to induce vomiting including bull dogs, pugs, boxers -- any dog with a 'squishy face.' Instead, she recommends immediately calling your vet. 

You can click here to use a chocolate toxicity calculator to see whether your dog has eaten a potentially toxic amount.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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