Perils of Candy & Chocolate

chocolatesGiving gifts of chocolate and candy to loved ones is a time honoured tradition and if statistics are correct, most of us regard these sweets as delicious, decadent treats. Would you share your sweets with your very best friend if you knew it could poison or even kill them? If your loved one happens to be your Havanese, that is exactly what could happen. The perils of chocolate are well documented and yet each year, dogs suffer from its consumption, whether unknowingly given to them or surreptitiously acquired.

chocolate_almondsChocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which dogs lack the enzyme to process. When ingested in small quantities, this may cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and hyperactivity. Larger quantities can cause heartbeat irregularities, muscle spasms, seizures, coma and death.

Toxic amounts depend on the size of the dog, the type of chocolate and the quantity ingested. Dark chocolate and pure cocoa contain the most theobromine thus are most dangerous. Sweets like cookies, cakes, tea & cola contain less; White chocolate and “coco-flavoured” treats are said to have negligible amounts but its wisest to avoid them all. Milk chocolate can be lethal at approximately 1oz. per pound of body weight while dark Bakers chocolate at only 1/10oz. per pound. For a Havanese, 8oz of milk chocolate, 3oz of semi-sweet or 1oz of dark chocolate could be deadly. Symptoms of toxicity can occur with much lower amounts. Theobromine causes different reactions to different dogs and even the smallest amount could be lethal to sensitive Havanese or to those with health problems. Havanese suspected of having chocolate toxicity or having eaten a potentially toxic amount require prompt veterinary attention. If you cannot reach your Vet immediately, it is recommended to induce vomiting till you can contact them.

With Thanksgiving and Halloween upon us and Christmas just around the corner, there may be an abundance of tempting sweets around the house. Be vigilant and keep your Havanese safe. At Halloween, watch where candy bowls/bags are placed and do not leave them unattended. After 'Trick or Treating', check the yard for dropped treats, also for leftover candy wrappers which many Havanese love to tear and chew. In the house, remember that Havanese are nimble jumpers and agile climbers and may easily reach what you consider “unreachable”. The safest storage spot will be in a sealed container, on an upper shelf, behind a closed door. Candy, though potentially less lethal than chocolate, can still be a danger. Diabetic Havanese can get into the most serious trouble ingesting candy, but the danger does not stop there. Candy on sticks can be swallowed whole and may cause perforation....wrappers and sticks are largely indigestible and may lead to stomach upset and blockage...Toffee can effectively glue the mouth shut....Sugar causes tooth decay...etc. If you like chocolate and sweets, as most of us do, please keep it for yourself and well away from your Havanese. The only safe amount for your best friend is None At All.