Chocolate, a Dog’s Worst Enemy

December 16, 2013

Ginny craved chocolateGinny

(Notice Santa Giving Ginny a Wide Berth)


Most of us know that chocolate in any form is a no-no for dogs.  What we may not realize is the length a dog will go to access that forbidden food.

My beautiful, Harlequin Great Dane was a highly intelligent animal (especially so, for her breed) who possessed an instinct for ferreting out goodies, no matter how well-hidden.  Ginny was obedience-trained and a delightful companion who loved car rides and being with her “people.”  But Ginny had a secret:  She was a snoop!

Though she loved her crate, we usually left her loose in the house when we were gone, because she was a very good girl.  But when she was left alone, she snooped in closets.  She never chewed furniture, carpets or damaged children’s toys.  Instead, she rummaged around, moving items from one place to another in closets.  The doors in our home had handles instead of knobs, and Ginny knew how to turn them or pull them, whatever was required to pull open the doors.

Children would complain that “someone” had been moving things around in their closets, but no one suspected that Ginny was the culprit.

One day, I arrived home from Christmas shopping, and my dog was not at the door to welcome me.  I carried my shopping bag full of gifts to my bedroom closet to hide them from nosy children and came to a dead stop in the doorway to my bedroom.  The bedroom carpet was covered with litter!  Further inspection found an order to the mess.  First, I found a piece of cellophane, only slightly damaged.  Next in line was a cardboard box advertising the logo of a Jack Daniels Tipsy Fudge Cake, gently opened and in relatively good condition.  Another piece of cellophane lay beside the box.  Beside that was a decorated tin box with imbedded teeth marks, followed by the equally marked tin top to the box.  Inside the tin box was paper wrapping, licked clean as a whistle.

Ginny had carefully removed each layer of the package she had found inside the closet in a shopping bag and carried out into the bedroom.  She left each piece on the floor in the order in which it was unwrapped.  And…she consumed the entire cake, chocolate, bourbon and all!

I found her in my daughter’s room hiding between the twin beds, a place she normally avoided because our daughter’s cat resided in that room.  She cowered in fear as I approached and her big body was shaking.  It took me a minute to be certain she shook from fear and not from being ill.  I was too stunned by the scene I had just viewed to be angry,  but she certainly knew she had been a naughty girl.

My dog had systematically opened the closed doors, which had to be pulled open, snooped in various shopping bags on the floor, found her prize, and removed it.

We watched her closely the rest of the day and night, but she was lucky and suffered no ill effects beyond a bit of gastric distress.  Had she been a smaller dog, she might have died.

Never think your dog won’t get into things, no matter how well-trained.  Be vigilant and keep potentially poisonous items out of any possible reach of your pets.


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