Pet Safety Reminder

Chocolate is toxic for dogs, as apparently is coffee/caffeine. We know that. We love our dog tremendously but yesterday a careless mistake almost caused us to lose Speck.

Chad loves chocolate covered coffee beans and we had bought him some for a stocking stuffer. In our bedroom, I had been piling stocking stuffer gifts, still in boxes and bags in a rocking chair. I set the bag with the coffee beans on top of the pile and never thought Speck could get to it. There was no room, as far as I could see, for him to land anywhere in the rocker and he usually stays way away from it because he doesn’t like that it wiggles when he jumps onto it.  And, we always keep the bedroom doors closed so Speck can’t get in there unless one of us is with him.

Saturday night I had stayed up til 4 a.m. finishing a project, and then got up about 8 and all day I planned to take a nap but never did. Last night, about 11:45 p.m. when I went upstairs to take a shower, this is what I saw in the bedroom floor.

Vince and Chad had gone to Wal-Mart from about 9 – 10 p.m. and I’m guessing Vince went in the bedroom to get his wallet or something and left the door not shut tightly and that’s when Speck got into this.  He was sitting with Vince watching TV when I found the bag so it had been probably about 2 hours since he’d eaten it all.  Within minutes, he began to get really sick.  We called our vet, who was most unhelpful.  He told us there’s not much that can be done if it’s been 2 hours since the dog ate the chocolate and suggested we just sit and hold him the rest of the night and see what happens.  I think he fully expected that Speck would die.  He’s about 12 pounds and he ate 1/2 pound of chocolate/coffee beans.

I read on the internet that 1 ounce of semi-sweet (and dark is worse) chocolate per 3 pounds of dog is toxic.  I also read that coffee is worse and anyone with a dog in the house shouldn’t even bring chocolate covered coffee beans into the house.  We won’t again!

With Speck weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces could technically kill him and he had just eaten 8 ounces.  Panic was running rampant at our house.  As luck would have it, Vince’s truck was parked in the middle right behind our other two vehicles and his truck wouldn’t start, which has been an ongoing problem with that truck and we’ve already spent about $800 trying to fix the problem!

Chad had to be at work at 7 a.m. but I woke him up at 1 a.m. and he took Vince to Wal-Mart while I stayed home with Speck.  They got activated charcoal which is supposed to absorb toxins and maybe help the dog throw up . . which wasn’t seeming to be a problem.  Vince had to buy the chunky charcoal that goes in aquarium filters and we crushed it and did our best to get some of it down Speck.  Not easy!

One article says the toxins stay in their system for 17 hours and we’re about there now.  One says they’re not out of the woods for 36 hours.  That’s an eternity from now!

Anyway, I stayed up with him til about 5 a.m. when Vince came in and told me to go to bed, he’d stay up with him.  I fully expected for Speck to be gone when I got up.  He was so sick!  He isn’t back to normal yet but he has eaten this morning and seems to have plenty of energy (who wouldn’t after eating your body weight in caffeine!) and hasn’t thrown up since about 4 a.m.

I believe all that saved him is that he knew he was doing something wrong and probably swallowed everything whole just to get it all down before he was caught.  The coffee beans remained whole and I think most of them came up during the night.  (Sorry for the grossness of this!) and when you figure the size of the coffee bean and the amount of chocolate that coats them, most of the 8 ounces he ate was coffee beans and not chocolate.

Last year I filled the stockings the night before Christmas and there was chocolate in them.  Speck grabbed them by the toe and pulled them down and ate a few pieces of chocolate then too.

See . . I told you chocolate was bad!  Seriously, please be careful with chocolate.  If you have a pet, make sure gifts aren’t going under your tree if they contain chocolate.  It baffles me that I consider myself so careful in so many ways and yet one stupid lack of attention to detail almost caused us to lose Speck.


  1. 1

    Sandra (Sandy Gail) Hutchins says


    Our dog ate an entire container of rat poison that we had put in a flower bed to kill a rat. The dog didn’t even show signs of feeling bad! She also ate chocolate more than once and it didn’t seem to do anything either. Yeah, she died, but not from any of those things, but of old age many years later. Keep us all posted on Speck. We LOVE him, too! Sandra from Oklahoma

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    Linda B. says

    Yikes! Poor Speck! I am so glad he’s doing better! I know this scare has aged you all a year at least. Fingers crossed he continues to improve and that you all have a Merry Christmas.

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    I”m glad Speck is showing signs of improvement. I’m sure this was a very scary episode for you. I know a few other things that are poisonous for dogs……onions, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins. Our dog likes EVERYTHING except bananas, so we have to be extra-careful. He’d eat anything else but the bananas……raw onions included. Please keep us updated on your little guy, okay? We’ll be crossing fingers he has a complete recovery….and quickly, too.

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    I am glad Speck is doing better. I have always had Chihuahuas that loved chocolate. After a very panicked call to the vet he told me to take some Peroxide in a syringe and get it down his throat. It worked in about 5 minutes and Hoover lived to crave chocolate another day. From then on I kept a small syringe taped to my Peroxide incase of emergency. Of course this only works if you get to the problem child pretty soon after it happens.
    Sleep well tonight!

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    I hope poor little Speck will be okay. It sounds like if you made it this far, it should all pass. Saturday, I sat out a stick of butter to make frosting. When I came back to get it, it was gone! Our dog Max devoured it, paper and all. He got sick a couple of times, but is fine now.

    Hopefully this will never happen again, but something else that will make a dog vomit is table salt. A teaspoon or two (you might want to google that amount because he is so small) straight down the throat. You will get fast results. Our cocker spaniel Peaches once ate the rope off of a rump roast. Don’t ask me how she opened the door to get into the trash to get it! Our vet told us that this was a better way to make a dog vomit. Watch your amount though, too much salt could affect their heart.

    Good luck with Speck!

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    so sorry to hear of Specks problems. We too try to keep all gifts out from the under the tree until Christmas Eve and then only after Oliver is safe in the laundry room for the night. Since he always sleeps there, he doesn’t mind a bit…

    Hope Speck is feeling better… Maybe Santa needs to bring him a tennis ball. That’s what Oliver asked for!!

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    This scared me when I was reading it. I hope by now he’s well on his way to being well! Give him a Daisy hug, will you? xo

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    The Peroxide works as that is what the vet had my daughter give her little dog when it was poisoned. I’m so sorry this happened to Speck and hope he is feeling much better very soon. I think he should get to sleep in Vince’s spot in the bed. 😉 Hope everyone gets some rest very soon.

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    Pam says

    I wish I could give you a hug. I know that you are exhausted, mentally and physically. No matter how safe we try to keep our pets, they manage to pull a sneaky.
    Hugs to you, Speck, and the family.

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    Brenda says

    Judy, I am so glad that Speck is coming through this!! (((HIGE HUGS))) to all of you! I am glad that it was not an expensive, chocolate though, that is what killed a friend of the family’s large dog – and where I learned that chocolate is a definte “NO” when it comes to dogs. My heart broke when he told us about it. And it’s so easy for us to forget this at this time of year, and dogs just love the smells and have to check it out.
    Thank-you for the reminder, but I am sorry it has come from such a personal experiance for you. Pet that puppy for me please and give him a hug. I am glad he is still with you.

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    Kerstin says

    I’m glad to hear Speck is recovering. My dog, Roxy, ate 3/4 lb of chocolate cookie dough while I was at IQF in Houston. My daughter caught her just as the last bit went down. She used the peroxide trick to get it back out. Roxy weighs 50lbs and she might not have gotten sick but her tummy is so sensitive my daughter felt it was better safe than sorry. Roxy did not feel well for about 5 days after but that might have been from the peroxide. Dogs can be sneaky little devils!

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    peggy says

    Just this Thanksgiving we went through the chocolate experience with our greyhound. I had purchased a half pound of lovely fudge from a local chocolate maker. I left it on the counter, and our counter surfing dog ate the whole thing. Thankfully, the local pet emergency hospital told us about giving hydrogen peroxide. It was a mess, and Reagan felt really sick, but he survived. Of course, he weighs almost 7 times what Speck weighs. It taught me a lesson though. I think I read onlline that once they eat chocolate, they get obsessed with it and will go to some lengths to get more. I hope not! I’ll say a little prayer for Mr. Speck. (Reagan has also eaten a whole stick of butter and once came up to me in the backyard carrying a gopher stake. Oh yes, once he chewed up a pill bottle containing at least 50 Ambien of which he ate about 10. The list of his exploits goes on and on.)

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    Aw Judy I’m so sorry, I can tell how very attached you are to Speck from all the times you post about him. I hope he recovers, but I wanted to let you know that we have a chocolate loving hound in our house who’s consumed sickening amounts of chocolate (sneaky, sneaky girl!) and while she’s suffered from a nasty belly ache, she’s always been just fine. I’m sure Speck will be too!

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    Donna says

    Our dogs will do anything to get chocolate and occasionally they have. Our vet told us to give them peroxide. The mess afterwards was horrendous but it worked. I think the amount was 1cc, but I am not sure. Our daschund weighs about 13lbs and ate an entire package of hershey kisses one morning. She lived to see another day(thankfully)!

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    That sneaky little devil! I hope you are both is feeling better. They are like our kids, aren’t they.
    I had a poodle that ate a whole bag of little peanut butter cups-I came home from work and there was shredded aluminum foil all over the floor and not a piece of candy in site. That’s the last time I put chocolate in a candy dish. He survived fine but got no more chocolate.

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    Wow! So glad Speck seems okay after such a near tragedy. Thank you for a good reminder for those of us pet-sitting over the holidays who may not be as tuned in regarding doggie safety.

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    My brother fed his little dog, I’m not sure what breed, about a half pack of chocolate mint girl scout cookies and she started having seizures from the chocolate. I didn’t know about the coffee.

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    Ah yes… chocolate… we had a $500 1/2 bag of easter candy once… the candy didn’t cost that much but the trip to the vet did.

    That same dog did eat an ant trap one time and they recommended we give her hydrogen peroxide… just put it in a bowl (don’t remember how much they said) and she lapped it right up. Best to do this outside as they are going to puke almost right away.

    I don’t know if there is any difference between ‘peroxide’ and ‘hydrogen peroxide’ or if everyone is referring to the same thing…

    Wikipedia says…
    If a dog has swallowed a harmful substance (e.g. chocolate), small amounts of hydrogen peroxide can be given to induce vomiting

    I’d ask your vet what the proper treatment amount would be… in case that ever happens again.

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    boy, that was close. I’ve been known to drop a chocolate chip or two. There doens’t seem to be much interest at my house. Black labs and Bichons…maybe they have strange taste buds!

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    Nancy says

    I’m glad to hear that Speck is on the mend! That’s so scary. I had bought my DH a bag of Reisens (choco-caramel candies) once. He ate one from the bag, and left it on the table while we went out to eat. Came home and the empty bag was on the floor…and there sat the dog, with this guilty look on her face. No wrappers, no crumbs, nothing! Just the bag. She never did get sick…I guess we were extremely fortunate. It’s amazing how quickly they can find stuff they aren’t supposed to, isn’t it?