As you’re hiding the chocolate and Easter eggs this weekend, be cautious of your pet – a little chocolate can be deadly, especially if it’s dark chocolate. A Glenview family that lost their beloved Cockapoo to dark chocolate poisoning last month is keeping the memory of their beloved Lily alive by launching a campaign to warn people of the dangerous connection between dark chocolate and dogs.
“Lily was such a super happy little dog that greeted everyone she met with a full body wag,” says Shari Burton. “It’s been almost a month and I still can’t believe that we lost her in this manner. I’m channeling my grief into saving other dogs. Losing a pet in this way is just cruel and unnecessary.”
Burton says the day they lost Lily was like many other days. They had a houseguest and had gone out to lunch. What they didn’t know is that she had left some dark chocolates in a cloth grocery bag in a chair. When they returned home, they found the dark chocolate gone and shredded aluminum foil on the floor.
They rushed the dog into their vet, but it was too late. Within hours she died – a beloved member of the family gone in a heartbeat. As she reached out in her grief, she was encouraged to turn her loss into something good in Lily’s memory.
“It’s such a horrible way for a dog to die. I started to research and found out that there is five times the amount of Theobromine – the chemical that makes dogs sick – in dark chocolate than milk chocolate,” says Burton. “I never knew that. We have so much more dark chocolate around these days because it’s “healthier” to people than other chocolates, but for dogs it’s the opposite. Dark chocolate and dogs are a deadly combination.”
During her research she found a lot of coverage about the danger of dark chocolate for dogs in other countries, but little in the United States. That motivated her to work to get the word out with Easter approaching…especially since it’s a holiday when many people have candy scattered around the house for the annual Easter egg hunts.
“It’s so easy to hide the chocolates, but how many of us really watch to make sure that all of the candy is recovered,” says Burton. “It takes such a small amount of dark chocolate with a small dog for it to be deadly (see National Geographic chart). We don’t even think about it. Chocolate also metabolizes more slowly in dogs.”
This weekend, Burton and their friends will be doing more than thinking about Lily. They will be meeting at Burton’s home for a memorial in her honor. She said that many of their friends often joked that they came over to visit with Lily. This weekend, those friends will all come with their favorite stories for a memorial for the energetic 12-year-old dog that left the world too soon.
“I’ve asked people to come in their “dog apparel” or to wear pink and we’ve made t-shirts with a special logo to remember Lily,” she adds. "I don’t want her death to be in vain and I don’t want other dogs to die that way either.”
She is also asking friends and families and others that want to help to make donations in Lily’s name to Famous Fido Rescue to help out other dogs. And, she’s asking dog families to always remember to keep the dark chocolate as far away from your pets as possible after learning the hard way that forgotten treats can be deadly. She also wants everyone to spread the word about the lethal connection between dark chocolate and dogs.
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