chocolate spewing forth

Mud cake with chocolate sprinkles by Leon Brooks

Had a very interesting conversation with Andreas Heinekroon, Elizabeth Francois, and Jim W (if you’ve been here since the beginning, he’s the one who was unknowingly lured into trolling the comments of this blog by Lisa Galaviz) about chocolate being poisonous.

Apparently everyone was aware that chocolate was poisonous for dogs, but Andreas informed us that it was also poisonous for humans. Only in massive quantities it must be said, but it’s true nevertheless. In case you’re wondering, it’s 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) of chocolate for the average human. As long as you eat less than that, you should be ok.

But for dogs it’s a different story, and for some dog breeds chocolate is particularly dangerous. For whatever reason, the Dachshund is a dog for whom chocolate is especially dangerous. You know, I’m not sure if that’s even true. I’ve heard it over the years from so many sources that I’ve just always taken in at face value.

See I have a history with these little weiner dogs. My grandmother had one when I was really small. My parents got one when everyone left home and they could enjoy co-habitating with dog rather than sons. We know quite a lot about the dog that is the Dachshund.

Which leads me to my story. When I was in school, I had a friend who had her own Dachshund called ‘Peterson‘.* Like so many of his breed, this little guy lived for mealtimes. His feeding schedule was strictly adhered to and, as a result of his daydreaming only about eating, he quite literally inhaled his food. I’m rather certain that if you inquired, he’d have informed you that the amount of food he was getting was not nearly enough.

I don’t remember how it happened exactly, but there was a bag of Ghirardelli chocolate in the pantry, and Peterson knew it. My suspicion has always been that he’d planned to make his move for weeks if not months. Someone inadvertently left the pantry door open, everyone was going about their business, and suddenly it was discovered that the package of chocolate was now an empty plastic bag. Peterson‘s mom and I reacted instantaneously. We both knew how dangerous chocolate was for this breed and that time was of the essence.

We scooped him up and rushed him into the bathtub. Even though it had only been a few minutes since he scarfed down this huge bag of chocolate, he was already looking a bit queasy. This was not going to be nice. Actually, it was going to be the opposite of nice.

I’m going to refrain from making any bulimia jokes, but I want it to state for the record that I showed a modicum of reserve. If that chocolate started to digest, it was going to be really dangerous for that miniature dog. We had to make him regurgitate and we had to do it fast.

If there was a more graceful way to go about this than sticking your finger down his throat, well then I wish you’d been there to tell us. We could’ve really used that precious information right about then. But without an alternative, it was a bit of fingertip down the gullet.

One of us was holding Peterson over the tub while the other aimed his frontside like a garden hose toward the drain. Am sure that’s as graphic as I need to get. Suffice it to say there seemed to be twice the volume of the original bag of chocolate that came back out of his little body. As if he were defecating out of the wrong orifice (and I said I wouldn’t get graphic-shame on me).

Felt a bit like we were at a college beer party and someone had had too much to drink. But at the same time when our adrenaline wore off it was also a wonderful feeling to know that our quick response probably saved Peterson‘s charmed life.

Because ultimately that’s what it was. A saying I learned recently that is pertinent: ‘Better an empty house than a bad tenant’.

(*some names have been altered to protect the innocent…actually, just one name)


  1. Great post!

    Some chocolates are more poisonous than others. It’s to do with the cocoa content, making dark chocolate the most poisonous. Luckily, it’s also the most bitter chocolate, so our brains shut down our appetite for it pretty quickly as it thinks (correctly) it’s poison.

    People on a diet or with sensitivity for sugar should therefore favour dark chocolate over its milkier cousins.

  2. i read that as ‘coma content’. i suppose if you are going to OD you could do it in style. but then it wouldn’t be all that stylish to be covered in brown vomit, like that little dog…

    i don’t give poppet chocolate, but i also frown upon people giving pets sweets of any kind, since they can’t tell you when they have toothache, and sugar is EVIL. i try to restrain myself when IDIOTS talk about what ‘treats’ they give their dogs.

    poppet is keen on street cuisine, however, and we have had a lot of tussles over what she gets to keep for herself and what she doesn’t. obviously, the smaller the find, the likelier she is to snaffle it down. there have been incidents with a whole chicken, large pieces of cake, and bread rolls where i have won the argument. once, she found a toffee. you’d think this was the best thing in the world, and maybe it was. i didn’t try to unpick the stuff from her teeth, but wanted to stop her eating the wrapper. growling ensued. but she let me fish out the foil. while her teeth were stuck together.

    1. Oh goodness Elaine,

      My girldog, Ella, is exactly like that. She’s a vacuum cleaner when we’re out on a walk, and will suck up anything edible and many things inedible. It’s essential that I’m very aware of our surroundings when we’re out there. Oh, and some Germans think they’re being helpful to the birds and other animals when they throw their old bread in the bushes. Ella has an internal magnet for just such discarded bread.

  3. Ugh! That’s just as vile as I thought it was going to be. Good on you thinking of the bathtub, although subsequent showers (to say nothing of baths) would have made me queasy.

    Everything is poisonous in high enough dose. Water, chocolate, beer…

  4. Much as I am in thrall to dogs, ANY dog in fact and will allow them to do things which most people forbid, like sleeping on my bed, I have never had any problem in denying them *treats* which I know are bad or even deadly for them. I have no problem in ignoring a soulful, pleading face under such circumstances. Our darling Swiss dog, Floyd, was allowed one sweet biscuit on his birthday which he received whether he wanted it or not. I despise so called loving owners who stuff there poor pets with the most unsuitable rubbish and would go so far as to condemn this behaviour as cruelty.

    1. Me too Barbara. Had to think about it a moment, because it’s such a foreign concept to me that I’d ever give a dog something high in either chocolate or sugar. I do my best to avoid too much of the latter as it is. Why would I give it to a dog anyway?

  5. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep myself from spewing up my dinner had I been in your situation. I am so glad that your quick thinking saved little Peterson’s life. Isn’t it funny how our animals become a part of our family. My dog only gets the doggy biscuit sort of treats and an occasional carrot or bit of fat off of any meat that we may have. I was cured of feeding my animals most types of human food when I had one of my father’s work dogs vomit macaroni and cheese on my feet. It was not fun.

    Thank you for showing restraint with your description. My stomach isn’t at all queasy!

    1. Seems like a recurring theme…none of *us* give our dogs sugary sweet treats. I suppose anyone who does isn’t going to actually leave a comment.

      My friend Kevin has a funny, albeit quite a bit less dangerous story, about his mother-in-law bringing a huge pot of white beans to some holiday dinner. No-one wanted to eat the beans, so Kevin poured them out at the property line. His dog found them & ate every last bean. The dog’s little stomach couldn’t hold all those beans, so he promptly returned them, but not back at the property line. He deposited them in the family’s living room. He said it was the most disgusting thing he’d ever experienced.

      If that were the most disgusting thing I’d ever experienced, I’d have a much less horrid catalogue of disgusting things. Truly.

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