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Copyright 1999-2018 by crazyforDOGS (SM)

Here are a couple of holiday safety tips for your dog.
1. Don't give your dog table scraps, especially from rich, fatty meals. These kinds of foods can give your dog gastroenteritis or pancreatitis. Gastroenteritis is the medical term for vomiting and diarrhea. Pancreatitis is especially dangerous. It occurs when the dog is trying to digest a very fatty meal. The pancreas produces enzymes to assist in the digestive process. With pancreatitis, the pancreas produces far too much; it gets inflamed and can even begin digesting itself. The symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, usually bloody. The dog will become dehydrated and can die. So please, don't feed your dog your leftover holiday meals. And if your dog gets ill, take him or her to the vet right away.

2. Don't feed your dog chocolate. If someone sends you a hamper gift with chocolate and holiday treats, make sure it is kept out of your dog's reach. Actually dogs are allergic to the caffeine in chocolate, not to the other ingredients. And it takes a certain amount of chocolate before your dog gets sick. So if your Laborador Retriever grabs a Hershey's Kiss, that is OK. Here are the amounts of caffeine that will cause problems:

100 mg caffeine per
1 kilogram of dog's weight
Symptoms will occur
140 mg caffeine per
1 kilogram of dog's weight
Toxic level

Milk chocolate has: 45 mg of caffeine per ounce
Unsweetened chocolate has: 400 mg of caffeine per ounce

But to be on the safe side, don't give your dog any chocolate. And if your dog eats chocolate (particularly if he or she is a little dog), contact your vet for advice.

Thanks to Dr. Oltman of Countryside Veterinary Clinic in Ellicott City, MD, (410-461-0517) for these holiday health tips.
Note: 1 (kg) kilogram is approximately 2.2 pounds. Therefore if your dog weighs 10 pounds, he or she is about 4.5 kilograms. The toxic amount of caffeine for your dog is 630 mg (milligrams) (4.5 kg X 140 mg/kg = 630 mg). Therefore, approximately 1.5 ounces of unsweetened chocolate will be a toxic amount for your 10 pound dog. It will take 14 ounces of milk chocolate to be a toxic amount.

Page History: This article appeared on the Internet first on the homepage of this website in December, 1999, and returned for an encore in December 2000, before being placed in its separate page in early 2001. (Visit*/ and see the Feb 02, 2001 archive.) Other online versions are copies or derivations (credited or otherwise) of this article.

Original file date: holiday safety date