We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

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Pets & Chocolate by Christine Attridge-Hardy

It is that time of year when chocolate plays a big role in many upcoming family holidays. Chocolate plays a big part in Valentine’s Day and Easter. If you and I have a hard time passing up a piece of chocolate! Think of hard it is for your dog to.

Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (a bit like caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs. The amount of theobromide differs in the different types of chocolate (dark chocolate has the most in it).

What does theobromine do and what symptoms will I see?

Theobromide mainly affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms will occur from 4-24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate and will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (theobromine) your dog has eaten.

If your dog has eaten chocolate, you may see:

  • Vomiting (may include blood)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness and hyperactivity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle tension, incoordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures

How much chocolate is too much for my dog?

Theobromine doses in the region of 100-150 mg/kg bodyweight are toxic to dogs.

Approximate amount of theobromine in 25grams of chocolate.

  • White chocolate contains minimal amounts of theobromine.
  • Milk chocolate contains 44-64 mg theobromine
  • Semi-sweet chocolate and sweet dark chocolate contains 150-160 mg theobromine
  • Unsweetened (baking) chocolate 390-450 mg theobromine
  • Dry cocoa powder 800 mg theobromine

This means that for a Labrador (around 30kg bodyweight) we would expect to see a fatal toxic reaction if they had eaten 1kg of milk chocolate, ½kg dark chocolate or 170grams of baking chocolate.

Signs of poisoning will be seen at lower levels of ingestion.  For example, a 30kg dog that has eaten 200g milk chocolate is likely to have a digestive upset (vomiting and diarrhoea).  If they had eaten 500g milk chocolate, it is likely that cardiovascular problems will be seen (increased heart rate) and if they had eaten 750g milk chocolate they may develop seizures.

It can be hard to tell exactly how much your dog may have eaten and the amount of caffeine and theobromine in chocolate will vary due to growing conditions, cocoa bean sources and variety. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet for advice if you are at all concerned.

What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?

Treatment may be needed if your dog eats any chocolate so please contact your vet as soon as possible. Letting your vet know if you can how much chocolate your dog has eaten, what type of chocolate it was (wrappers can be very helpful) and when your dog ate the chocolate.  This will enable them to work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic dose or not and what treatment your dog is likely to need.

Treatment

There is no antidote to theobromine. In most cases your vet will make your dog vomit.  They may wash out the stomach and feed activated charcoal which will absorb any theobromine left in the intestine. Other treatments will depend on the signs your dog is showing.  They may need intravenous fluids (a drip), medication to control heart rate, blood pressure and seizure activity.

With prompt intervention and treatment even in dogs that have eaten large amounts of chocolate the prognosis for a poisoned dog is usually good.

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

Last updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1. We are currently operating a “closed waiting room” and "drop off" policy to protect our clients and staff. We ask that you follow these steps:
a. When you arrive, please remain outside and use your cell phone to call us at 905.689.8005. Please ensure your pet is either in a carrier or has a collar so that we can attach our leash.
b. Once an exam room is ready, we will come to take your pet from you and into an exam room and call you to take a history and talk about any concerns.
c. Once the exam is over we call you with our recommended treatment plan, we can then arrange to take payment over the phone.
d. We will then bring your pet out to you.

2. We can now see all cases by appointment only.

3. The animal hospital is still OPEN with the following hours:
Monday- Friday: 8:00am - 6pm
Saturday: 9:00am - 1:00pm
Sunday: Closed

4. Country Tails Doggie Daycare and our Grooming Salon reopen on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

5. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

6. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

7. Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

8. Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Clappison Animal Hospital