The Festive Treat You Should Never Share with Your Dog

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright, but you know the real star of the holidays: chocolate. 

You can find this sweet ingredient in all your favorite festive cookies, truffles, mousses, brownies, and cakes. But its time-honored spot on the dessert menu increases the risk to your four-legged family members. If your dog eats chocolate, you may have to rush them to an emergency vet. 

Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

Chocolate might be one of the best parts of the holidays for human merrymakers, but it’s a potentially dangerous treat for pets. That’s because it contains theobromine and caffeine, two highly toxic stimulants to dogs. 

According to PetMD, these stimulants can interfere with dogs’ metabolic processes. As a result, it can make them very ill and, in some cases, be fatal. It depends on how much your dog manages to consume.

In small quantities, chocolate can make your furry friend sick, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and hyper-excitability. 

The more they manage to gulp down, the bigger the health risks. If your dog consumes a lot of chocolate, it can cause seizures, heart arrhythmia, pancreatitis, internal bleeding, and even death. 

What Should You Do if Fido Gets into Your Chocolate?

If you suspect your dog has chowed down on some chocolate, call your vet right away — even if you don’t see them take a bite. Your vet can determine if you can care for your dog at home or need to rush to the nearest veterinary clinic.  

Unfortunately for many merrymakers, finances can make an emergency vet visit challenging to afford. 

If tight finances would stop you from getting life-saving care, talk to your vet about your predicament. With your pet’s life on the line, they might give you a bill extension or allow you to pay your bill in multiple installments.  

If you need additional help dealing with financial emergencies even with a payment plan, a line of credit can be another way to save your dog’s life. A line of credit might be a convenient option for those whose credit cards are full of holiday expenses. 

Chocolate-Related Visits Surge over the Holidays

A trip to the vet during the holidays isn’t unusual. In fact, snack-happy dogs manage to sniff out this forbidden festive food at astonishing rates. 

According to BluePearl, a national collection of animal hospitals, their vets see a 372% surge in chocolate-related emergency visits every Christmas Eve.  

Linsey E. Bullen, one of BluePearl’s veterinary nutritionists, says the hustle and bustle of the season can make it easy to overlook this danger. 

Fido can sneak a bite off someone’s discarded plate while you step out of the room momentarily. You’re also entertaining more often than usual, and someone might unknowingly spoil your dog with a poisonous sweet.

However, chocolate isn’t the only festive threat to your dog this holiday, according to Bullen:

“Candies, cookies, or pies containing grapes, coffee, chocolate, nuts, walnuts, or xylitol, a common sugar substitute used in hundreds of sugar-free candies and pastries, can be particularly dangerous if ingested by pets.”

With such a long list of doggy no-nos, it’s best to keep all foods away from Fido over the holidays. Stick with their usual diet, and only share treats your vet can confirm are safe for dogs to eat. 

But if Fido gets into chocolate despite your best efforts, remember a line of credit can help them get care.

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