One of your recent columns reminded me of this story. It was Christmas day, and I was expecting fifteen relatives for dinner. The house was sparkling clean, the buffet table was set up with my best china, the cold food platters were in the refrigerator, and the hot food was bubbling in the oven.
A few years before, I had inherited a dog from my son. His house was too small for his gaggle of kids and a large dog, so he passed him on to me. He was sweet and obedient, and I hadn’t had any problems with him. His name was Bandit. (Why hadn’t I ever questioned that?)
Shortly before the guests arrived, I placed a large bowl of Hershey’s Kisses on a living room table. These were the special holiday candies covered with red, green and gold foil. There were two pounds of Kisses in the bowl. I returned to the kitchen to check on dinner, and, when I returned, the Hershey’s Kisses were gone, wrappers and all. I thought that all that foil could seriously injure the dog and called the vet who sounded very concerned.
“How much does the dog weigh?” he asked. I told him that Bandit weighed about sixty-five pounds. “That’s good,” he replied, “That amount of chocolate could kill a smaller dog. Your dog will be very sick with violent diarrhea.”
“But what about the foil?” I asked.
“The foil will go right through him,” he said. “It’s the chocolate that’s poisonous.”
I never knew that.
My relatives arrived, but all I could think about was that Bandit might explode on my new beige carpeting in front of my guests. I kept putting Bandit in the backyard every twenty minutes, but it was too cold to leave him out there indefinitely. I was in a panic all day and afraid to take my eyes off him. Every time he moved, I jumped.
Surprisingly, Bandit had no reaction whatsoever. Nothing happened, except that for the next week, my backyard looked like it was decorated with red, green and gold Christmas ornaments!
– Joanne, Freeport, New York
As soon as you said the dog’s name was Bandit, I was ready for the sneaky thief story. The danger is based on the type of chocolate ingested and the size of the dog. Two pounds of chocolate might have killed a not much smaller dog. I’m glad you learned about the dangers of chocolate in a story with a happy (and colorful) ending.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal