Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Dangers of Chocolate

We discuss the danger of chocolate in every one of our elementary presentations. While we occasionally get Chocolate Stories, I've never had two in one day. I'm happy to report that both family pets are okay, but it highlights the importance of keeping chocolate up and out of the way.

The first story involved a french bulldog, some Valentine's bags, and heart shaped chocolate candy. A mother had twenty-four bags lined up on the living room floor. She wanted to be sure each child had a bag full of goodies. She was halfway through the bags when the phone rang. She stepped out of the room to answer it, not realizing their dog had come back into the house.  When she hung up the phone five minutes later, the little frenchie had eaten 13 pieces of chocolate. Rather than waste time driving to the vet (in L.A., a 10 mile trip can take you an hour), the vet had them induce vomiting at home. It was messy, but the dog ended up fine in the end.  And there will be no more bags left on the floor!

The second story involved an easy bake oven, a cat, and a sleepover. One of the students was having another student over for a spend-the-night (we called them sleepovers, but the kids now are calling them spend-the-nights?). They decided to break in the new Easy Bake Oven that the girl had received at Christmas. Because her father was "fond of chocolate", she got out the chocolate pieces.  As kids do, they got distracted after baking their treats.  The chocolate was left out next to the oven.  No one realized the cat had gotten into it until..."she puked on my bed, then she puked on my pillow, and then she puked next to Susana's* bed, and THEN she puked in my closet!"  The little girl felt so awful that she had caused her beloved cat to be sick. Her tears served as a good lesson for the class.  With some supportive care at the vet, the pet was fine.

We had a close call with our Wednesday cat.  My husband can be stubborn - and he didn't believe that chocolate was poisonous to cats. He shared his leftover ice cream with his cat, Simon, all the time and nothing ever happened.  Wednesday wasn't so lucky.  Despite my warnings, he let her lick a small amount of mint chocolate chip ice cream from his dish when he was finished.  The bigger problem?  It had been smothered in Hershey's Syrup.  We woke to a very, very ill kitten the next morning.  Even with a lecture from the vet, he still denied that it was his fault.  But he hasn't allowed her any ice cream since.

Have you ever had a close call with a pet and chocolate?  Thought you had it hidden out of reach, but they managed to get into it anyway?

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