As it's coming up to that time of year when we all have lots of Christmas chocolate around the house, and bearing in mind one of my own dogs attempted to kill herself last year with chocolate, I thought I would post this weeks update on chocolate poisoning in dogs from the Veterinary Poisoning Information Service based in the UK. Out of 1000 cases known to have eaten chocolate and for which they had follow up, approximately half the cases had no symptoms. 5 dogs died. The rest had various signs of poisoning from vomiting, abdominal pain, pancreatitis, twitching, heart problems and seizures. Toxic effects are directly related to the amount of theobromine in the chocolate. For white chocolate there is no problem and treatment is not required. Toxic effects will start at doses of 20mg theobromine per kg bodyweight, severe effects from 40-50 mg/kg and seizures from 60mg/kg. The VPIS have helpfully equated this theobromine dose to grammes of chocolate eaten and it pans out that veterinary treatment is likely to be required if they eat dark chocolate at doses over 3.5g per kg bodyweight, and milk chocolate doses over 14g chocolate per kg bodyweight. One of mine (Lochan) last year ate 600g of dark chocolate - some 24g/kg - and had pretty severe signs of poisoning for which urgent care was required. Hope this is helpful and our dogs do nothing silly with chocolate over the festive season!