Big Dog Basics: Everyday Issues For People With Giant Breeds

Big Dog Basics: Everyday Issues For People With Giant Breeds

Article Featured on Vetstreet | By Kim Thorton

Thinking of sharing your life with a Great Dane, Newfoundland, Irish Wolfhound or other giant breed? While these giant breeds can make great companions, there are a few things you need to think about before you commit. For starters, they eat more and take up more space — like most of the bed and all of the sofa. And they can pull you off your feet if they’re out on a walk and see something interesting off in the distance.

Giant breeds can also have health problems related to their size. Plus, their medications and medical bills can be more expensive. Emergencies aside, though, just living with them on a day-to-day basis can pose problems you might never have thought of. Here are a few things you should know before you go big.

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Fall Pet Safety Tips

Fall Pet Safety Tips

Article Featured on Douglas Feed & Pet Supply

Fall is a fun season to get out and about with your pets, but before you jump into that first pile of leaves, sip that first pumpkin spice latte, or walk down that first fall trail, it is important to keep your pets safe. Understanding autumn hazards and how to avoid them is essential for both you and your pet to safely enjoy fall.

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How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery

How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery

By Diana Bocco | Article Featured on PetMD

When it comes to post-operative care for pets, there’s no such thing as “standard procedure.” That’s because each cat and dog surgery and each pet is different.

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Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Article Featured on VCA Hospital

I’ve heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs? Is this true?

Yes, chocolate is toxic to dogs (and cats!). While rarely fatal, chocolate ingestion can result in significant illness. Chocolate is toxic because it contains a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Theobromine is the predominant toxin in chocolate and is very similar to caffeine. Both chemicals are also used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine as well as people can. This makes them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects.

How much chocolate is poisonous to a dog?

The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs. Baking chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate are highly concentrated and contain 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce, while common milk chocolate only contains about 44-58 mg/ounce. White chocolate barely poses any threat of chocolate poisoning with only 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate (that said, dogs can still get sick from all that fat and sugar, which can cause pancreatitis). To put this in perspective, a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would only need to eat 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate, or 9 ounces of milk chocolate, to potentially show signs of poisoning. For many dogs, ingesting small amounts of milk chocolate is not harmful.

“The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate.”

Toxic doses of theobromine are reported to be as low as 20 mg/kg, where agitation, hyperactivity and gastrointestinal signs (such as drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea – all which may smell like chocolate) can be seen. At doses over 40 mg/kg, cardiac signs can be seen, and include a racing heart rate, high blood pressure, or even heart arrhythmias. At doses of more than 60 mg/kg, neurologic signs can be seen, including tremors, twitching, and even seizures. Fatalities have been seen at around 200 mg/kg (approximately 100 mg/lb), or when complications occur.

What are the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning?

Clinical signs depend on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. For many dogs, the most common clinical signs are vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, and a racing heart rate. In severe cases, muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure can be seen. In older pets that eat a large amount of high quality dark or baking chocolate, sudden death from cardiac arrest may occur, especially in dogs with preexisting heart disease. Complications (such as developing aspiration pneumonia from vomiting) can make the prognosis for chocolate poisoning worse. When in doubt, immediate treatment by your veterinarian is warranted if a poisonous amount of chocolate is ingested.

“Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning can take hours to develop and last for days.”

Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning can take several hours to develop, and can last for days, due to the long half-life of theobromine. The theobromine can even be re-absorbed from the bladder, so IV fluids and frequent walks to encourage urination may be necessary. It is important to seek medical attention by calling your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline* as soon as you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate.

What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline to see if a poisonous amount of chocolate was ingested. If a toxic amount is ingested, you should have your dog examined by a veterinarian immediately. The sooner the theobromine is removed from the body or the dog is stabilized, the better your dog’s prognosis.

What is the treatment for chocolate poisoning?

Treatment depends on the amount and type of chocolate eaten. If treated early, removal of the chocolate from the stomach by administering medications to induce vomiting and administration of activated charcoal to block absorption of theobromine into the body may be all that is necessary. Activated charcoal may be administered every four to six hours for the first twenty-four hours to reduce the continued resorption and recirculation of theobromine.

It is very common to provide supportive treatments such as intravenous fluid therapy to help stabilize your dog and promote theobromine excretion. All dogs ingesting chocolate should be closely monitored for any signs of agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, irregular heart rhythm, and high blood pressure. Often, medications to slow the heart rate (e.g., beta-blockers) may be necessary to treat the elevated heart rate and arrhythmia.

I saw a treat made for dogs that contained chocolate. Isn’t that dangerous?

Many gourmet dog treats use carob as a chocolate substitute.

“Carob looks similar to chocolate and the two are often confused.”

Carob looks similar to chocolate and the two are often confused. Some specialty dog bakeries will use a small amount of milk chocolate in their treats. Since the amount of theobromine is typically low, this may be safe for most dogs. However, most veterinarians recommend that you avoid giving your dog chocolate in any form. Remember, ingredients in food are listed in order of concentration in the product, so hopefully carob is lower on the list!

*Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service based out of Minneapolis available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.


Laurelwood Animal Hospital, located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.

If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: info@laurelwoodvets.com

Aggression Between Cats in Your Household

Aggression Between Cats in Your Household

Article Featured on ASPCA

Do you have two cats in your home that just can’t seem to get along? There are various reasons why your kitties won’t play nice. Learn more about reasons behind feline aggression, and find out ways you can create peace between your cats.
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How to Give Your Dog Medication

How to Give Your Dog Medication

There will be times when you need to give your dog medication — and that can be a tricky task, especially if you’ve never done it before or if he is uncooperative. Here is expert advice on how to get the medicine down.

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My Dog Just Came Inside and Her Eyelids and Muzzle Are Swollen. What’s Going On?

My Dog Just Came Inside and Her Eyelids and Muzzle Are Swollen. What’s Going On?

BY DR. JENNA ASHTON DVM, MS, DACVIM | Article Featured on Vetstreet

Swelling of the eyelids and face, hives and facial itching (or pawing at the face) are common signs of an allergic reaction. Essentially, this occurs when the dog’s immune system generates an exaggerated response to a foreign substance. While dogs can have allergic reactions to a multitude of things, including medications, pollen, dust and food, abrupt facial swelling after being outdoors is commonly caused by a bee sting or insect bite.

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Air Travel and Short-Nosed Dogs FAQ

Air Travel and Short-Nosed Dogs FAQ

Article Featured on AVMA

In July 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation released statistics that showed short-nosed breeds of dogs—such as pugs, Boston Terriers, boxers, some mastiffs, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Shih tzus and bulldogs—are more likely to die on airplanes than dogs with normal-length muzzles. In fact, over the last 5 years, approximately one-half of the 122 dog deaths associated with airline flights involved these short-faced breeds. 25 of the 122 dogs that died over the 5-year period were English bulldogs, followed by 11 pugs, the only other breed in double digits. Although these numbers seem a bit scary, keep in mind that this is a very small number when compared to the hundreds of thousands of animals that fly every year.

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Keep Your Pets Safe While Trick-Or-Treating this Halloween

Keep Your Pets Safe While Trick-Or-Treating this Halloween

Article Featured on Douglass Feed & Pet Supply

Halloween can be an un-intentionally scary time for pets. In fact, veterinarians see many pet injuries that can be avoided this time of year. With all of the shrieks and howls coming our way, we thought it would be a good idea to make sure they are happy ones, in keeping with the fun atmosphere of the holiday. It’s always a good idea to keep aware that the festivities may not be as fun for our pets as it is for the kids, teens and adults.

To keep this Halloween from being a real-life nightmare for you and your pet, consider the following things:

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Why Nutrition Is Important for Healthy Skin and Coat

Article Featured on Douglass Feed & Pet Supply

Every pet owner understands the importance of a proper diet to provide their pet the best nutrition for strong bones and muscles, healthy joints, abundant energy, stable digestive health, and weight control. The right nutrition is important for their healthy skin and coat as well, and your pet’s skin and coat are critical for the animal’s well-being. Continue reading Why Nutrition Is Important for Healthy Skin and Coat