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Chocolate Poisoning & Fireworks

Chocolate Poisoning

Chocolate poisoning is a serious, potentially fatal, cause of poisoning in dogs.
chocolate_poisoninghe culprit within chocolate is called theobromine. The concentration of this substance varies depending on the type of chocolate but as a general rule, the higher the percentage of cocoa solids, (ie the darker the chocolate), the higher the level of theobromine.

Signs of poisoning usually occur within 24hrs of consumption and include vomiting, painful abdomen, restlessness and hyperactivity. In severe cases there may be tremors or convulsions with the heart being severely affected.


If you suspect that your dog has eaten some chocolates please phone the practice as soon as possible in order for us to start treatment promptly.


Fireworks used to be confined to bonfire night and hogmanay but now these two events seem to have merged so that we can no longer predict when the next set of “bangs” are going to occur.

Many pets become extremely anxious and distressed and we are frequently asked for advice on how to minimise the stress for both pet and owner.

The best way forward is to plan in advance and start a desensitisation programme using a CD such as one called “Sounds Scary” which comes with full instructions and tips to help your dog settle.

Leading up to a known event, an Adaptil diffuser can be very helpful. This releases a pheremone which soothes your dog and is used to aid many aspects of behavioural training. It can either be used as a diffuser in the room where your pet spends most of his time or as a collar.
fireworksAnother product which has recently become available is Zylkene. This is a naturally occurring protein which has been isolated and shown to act on various neuroreceptors which aids your pet in managing its stress. There are no know side effects. Zylkene must be given a minimum of 2 days prior to the expected stress event.

For those animals severely affected, we may also prescribe medication to reduce the level of anxiety that your pet is feeling. We do not recommend using sedatives as they do not reduce anxiety and only serve to limit your dogs ability to express his fear.

Other general tips include closing the curtains and playing some background music to help mask the sound of the fireworks. Making a den for the dog to feel safe eg under the table can also help. The hardest part is to try and not make a fuss if your dog is fretting as this will only reinforce his behaviour. It is best to reward him with attention once he is starting to relax again.

If you have any queries on any of the above then please contact the practice for more advice.