Do dogs actually die from eating chocolate?

Dear Readers: Recently, while chatting with a fellow radio broadcaster, Dr. Jerry Parsons, a horticulture specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension in San Antonio, we were discussing plants and foods that are poisonous to animals. According to our sources, including The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Animal Poison Control Center, chocolate can be potentially poisonous. There are a lot of variables, depending on the size and weight of the dog (a pound-and-a-half Chihuahua versus a 100-pound Great Dane) and how much and what type of chocolate was ingested. Chocolate contains theobromine, and when ingested in large quantities could be fatal.
My colleague says he has never heard of any dog actually dying from eating chocolate. It seems many people give their pets milk chocolate as treats without any consequences.
So, this is where I turn to the biggest source of information in the world: you. Have you ever had a dog die from eating chocolate? If so, please let us know. This cannot be hearsay -- it must be your pet or one of an immediate family member. And, to any veterinarians who are reading this column, if you have treated a dog that did not survive, would you please let us know? Also, we'd appreciate it if you would include your phone number so I can call you personally. Please e-mail your experience to; fax to (210) 435-6473 (HELOISE); or mail to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. Heloise
Dear Readers: Barb and Dave Emmert of Dixon, Ill., sent us a photo of Tiggy the cat in a child's car seat. Barb says: "Tiggy thinks when the grandkids are not in the seat, he's the baby. He will be 12 years old!"
Visit my Web site, www.Heloise.-com, and click on This Week's Pet to see Tiggy "the baby." Heloise
Dear Heloise: We recently bought a hamster for my daughter. We got a cage that included a plastic exercise wheel. Well, this little guy took no time in chewing up the plastic wheel. So, we visited the pet store, and employees suggested we buy a metal one. We did, and now everyone is happy! Delores in New Mexico
Delores, it's true that hamsters and other small rodents need an exercise wheel. In the wild, they run about a lot. Remember, too, that these small rodents are nocturnal, which means they will exercise at night. So, don't place their cage where their activity might disturb children who are trying to sleep.
Also, keep in mind that the colorful plastic tubes you can buy to make tunnels for the rodents can also be chewed through, so use caution. Heloise
Dear Heloise: Be sure that you have a recent photo of your pet. If your pet gets lost or stolen, the photo might help in the recovery. It will come in handy when making fliers or when notifying local newspapers and even vets in your area. Sarah in Pennsylvania
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to
King Features Syndicate

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