Ask the Vet - Dr. Whitehead • Dr. Forsythe


Chocolate poisoning and more

Dear Dr. Abbie: Is chocolate really that poisonous for dogs? – Wondering

Dear Wondering: For me, chocolate is a food group, necessary to a healthy diet.

But, here’s how toxic chocolate is for canines: The USDA conducted experiments with the active ingredient in chocolate, theobromine, to see if it could be used as a coyote control program in Colorado. It worked. They started with real chocolate, and moved on to more pure forms not because the chocolate was ineffective. And it was too expensive. Cheapskates!

For dogs, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. The smaller the dog, the more dangerous chocolate is. Once I made some chocolate chip cookies and brought them to school for the carpool ride home. I left the plate on the seat while I went to get the kids. When I got back, Cindy Loo Who had eaten four cookies. She only weighs five pounds. Just one ounce of semi-sweet chocolate can cause seizures for a dog her size. We had an interesting trip to CVS for peroxide and paper towels. On the way home my daughter had a lap full of dog vomit the kids had fun describing the outcome – “Wow! It looks like egg white swirled with chocolate!” “Soap suds!” “Mom, it’s… WARM!” Do not try this at home. But do take your dog to the vet for treatment if she ever eats chocolate. Most times they need other treatment besides induced vomiting.

And this Valentine’s Day, consider a romantic walk and dinner instead.

– Dr. Abbie

Dear Dr. Abbie: My pug has to go pee frequently during the day, never at night. Sometimes she “feels” she has to go and not much comes out. Her x-rays and ultrasound were normal, but she has blood in her pee.  She has had antibiotics, but her pee showed no bacteria. She is staring at me with those BIG brown eyes right now. Thank you so much for your advice.  Signed – Crossing her legs

Dear Crossing: Your vet has done a great work-up to figure out why your little pug is peeing so much.  Since pugster does not need to pee during the night, I wonder if she is marking her territory or has trained you with those big eyes to take her out.  Dogs find it way more interesting to sniff around, see who else has peed recently and pee on that than sit inside under the computer.

The lab should compare clean catch urine with a sterile sample. For a clean catch, walk her outside with a little catch pan until she pees and simply slide the pan under. Be sure not to touch the lip of the pan to anything. This will give the lab a sample with cells from the urethra. They will be able to ignore the grass, pollen and dog hair. If there is blood only in the sterile sample it came from the needle going into the bladder. Viola! You can count yourself among those who have been trained by those soulful brown eyes to do whatever we think the dog “feels” she wants. – Dr. Abbie

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