Spaniel Sandy and his owners spent last Christmas Day at the emergency vets after the pup sniffed out a giant chocolate Toblerone wrapped under the tree
Image: Vets Now)
A cheeky pup caused Christmas Day chaos when he munched through a 15-inch supersize chocolate Toblerone, after secretly stealing it from under the Christmas tree.
Cunning spaniel Sandy tucked into his midnight snack just as his owners Lisa and Andrew Sinclair had finished wrapping Christmas presents and went to bed on Christmas Eve last year.
The drama began just before 1am, when Lisa was woken back up by a loud and unusual rustling noise coming from the sitting room.
She went downstairs and discovered “spaniel on stilts” Sandy – who’s a cross between an Irish setter and a springer – helping himself to the giant chocolate bar.
On his way to finding it, 18-month-old Sandy had shredded a bath bomb as well, leaving a scene of chaos around the tree.
The chocolate was a present from Lisa’s son to her daughter, but that didn’t matter to Sandy.
He demolished the wrapping paper then set about the cardboard packaging, ripping that to shreds too, before wolfing down nearly all 750 grams of the chocolate.
Sandy even had time to stash the last bit of Toblerone under a blanket to eat later.
Lisa said: “I’d literally just got off to sleep when I heard the commotion and thought ‘something’s not right here!’
“At that point we’d only had Sandy for about six months – we rehomed him from another family – and he was sleeping on the sofa at night because that’s what he was used to at his old house.
“He’s not normally one for looking for food he’s not allowed, but I think he must just have smelled the chocolate and found it impossible to resist.
“He seemed fine, and was looking pretty pleased with himself, but because we’ve had dogs before, we knew that if they do get hold of something like that it can be very dangerous.
“The more we Googled it the more we realised how serious it could be for Sandy, even though there seemed nothing actually wrong with him.”
Chocolate is highly toxic for dogs and can lead to poisoning and potentially fatal health arrhythmia – which meant Lisa and Sandy had to leave their home near Perth to visit the Vets Now Dundee pet emergency clinic at the worst possible time of the year.
“Luckily for us, Vets Now in Dundee were open and when we rang and explained what had happened, they started doing the calculations about how much risk he was facing. They needed to know his body weight plus the weight of the chocolate,” Lisa said.
“They did the maths and said to bring him in straight away. So that was me at half past one in the morning on Christmas Day, in the car with a dog who’d decided to start his Christmas early.”
The emergency vets gave Sandy medicine to induce nausea to clear his stomach of as much of the Toblerone as possible.
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Then he was well enough to head home – with bottles of liquid charcoal for Lisa to give him every four hours to continue cleansing his tummy.
Lisa said: “Of all the ways you might think of spending Christmas, a trip to the emergency vets is definitely not one of them.
“But we couldn’t have just done nothing and hoped for the best. Sandy is part of our family and we couldn’t risk any harm to him.
“Needless to say, he now sleeps in a basket upstairs and the door to the living room will definitely be shut this Christmas Eve.”
Vets Now emergency vets see a surge in chocolate poisoning cases around Christmas time, and are warning owners to keep human treats away from their dogs this year.
Emergency vet Dave Hollinshead, who is part of the Video Vets Now team, said: “Dogs who have eaten a toxic amount of chocolate usually start showing symptoms between four and 24 hours later. These can include vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, rapid breathing and seizures.
“Unfortunately, we see a lot of cases like this and owners can never be too careful, especially those with greedy dogs who will do all they can to eat them. Our advice is to keep chocolate treats well away from your dog.
“We really hope Lisa and her family have a slightly quieter Christmas this time around – and please do seek help immediately if your dog does get hold of either chocolate, currants or raisins this year.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.