Dog Love: A Cautionary Tale

My friend Helene arrived about 3 pm at our northeastern Pennsylvania lake house and we took advantage of the sunny, warm day to get in the water, swim to the dock, and bathe in the sun.  
Moses, my rescue dog, paced along the shore, watching us, and even tiptoed in a little bit. Though he can swim, he doesn’t seem to like it. Yet he likes to observe and I’m sure he’d be a lifeguard if needed.  

Later in the evening, after a lovely “girl” food dinner of tuna, corn, asparagus, and bottle of rose wine, I put out a plate of brownies I’d made and some of the chocolate chip cookies, (Tate’s) that Helene had brought. We sat in the living room, and the dessert plate lay on the coffee table. We nibbled and chatted.  As dark descended, we decided to walk Moses. Unlike my suburban life where there are sidewalks and streetlights, nighttime here can be rather spooky, even when carrying a bright flashlight.

When we returned from the walk, Helene asked me to show her the pictures of the family that adorn the walls, especially going up the staircase to the second floor. I told her who everyone was and we returned to the living room.

And the dessert plate was empty. Moses had devoured the remaining brownies and cookies and was cleaning up the crumbs from the rug.

Chocolate as pet owners know is toxic for dogs. While he seemed perfectly happy, I called his vet, who runs a 24-hour emergency service. They advised me to call the ASPCA Poison Control hotline. (888-426-4435). The wait on perma-hold seemed interminable; as both Helene and I scoured websites seeking information about the toxin, how quickly it could impact the dog, and to what degree given the amount he ate. After hearing that they charge $65 for advise, and nervous that I was wasting valuable time, I hung up and started calling local vets, hoping one nearby offered emergency care similar to my vet in New Jersey.

We read about how to induce vomiting—you give the dog 3% hydrogen peroxide with an eye dropper or syringe, and what symptoms to look for. We kept checking on Moses, who had retired to his comfy dog bed in my bedroom, and seemed content.

Having no luck with local vets, and realizing I had no hydrogen peroxide, I called a neighbor who offered to buy some and deliver it to me. Meanwhile, I called the hotline again and patiently waited. When someone answered, she asked me lots of questions about Moses: weight, breed and general health; and about the brownies: type of chocolate- baker’s the 2nd worst for dogs after cocoa powder, the amount he ate (less than 1 ounce based on the size of the brownies and that he’d eaten five not an entire batch,) and also about the other ingredients used: sugar, butter, walnuts. Apparently all these factors determine the effect on the dog. Given the information, she put me on hold and came back to me quickly. Thankfully due to his size – 50 lbs, and the small quantity he consumed,  she assured me he’d be fine and no follow up was required with a vet this morning.

So all’s well that ends well. But I learned to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand, and to be much more careful with desserts on the coffee table.



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5 Responses to Dog Love: A Cautionary Tale

  1. Eek a scare

    Jacob Winkler, LCSW, CGP


  2. Ellen Silverstone says:

    We had a springer spaniel who ate a bag of chocolate kisses foil and all. He was fine and lived another 10 years. You need to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand not only to make them vomit but also in case they get skunked, equal part peroxide, water and few drops of dawn liquid detergent.
    Welcome to the country!!!!


  3. Marla says:

    Poor Moses. Sending him a virtual dog treat and will think of him when I make brownies. Kisses

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Moses, We have a lab too and like you, he’s a sneaky, little scavenger. If you don’t want to freak out your peeps and cause them stress, stay clear of the chocolate. Big wags.

    Liked by 1 person

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