Manchester Veterinary Clinic

156 Spencer Street
Manchester, CT 06040


Oh, Rosie

Publish Date: 8/13/2019 9:56 AM

By Alexis Soutter, DVM

Majestic Rosie -Manchester Veterinary Clinic- CT- Trusted vets for your pets

The sound of scratching at the door followed by an anxious whine woke me up. I checked the clock; it was 2 a.m. I was staying at my parents’ house with my bearded collie, Rosie, and my cats while we got my new house ready to move in. I had just graduated from vet school, and was running on some serious sleep deprivation, but I got up and took my agitated dog out. She vomited as soon as we made it outside, then seemed to have some diarrhea but it was too dark to see much. Exhausted, I brought her back in, but I was destined to get no more sleep that night. Not long after I crawled back into bed, she began pacing and panting up a storm. By the time I gave up on sleep, she was trembling all over. I checked her heart rate, and it was extremely high at 200 beats per minute.

My father had been in charge of her the previous night, and I asked him if she had gotten into anything. “Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you, she got into the cabinet after I fed her and ate a couple blocks of chocolate.”

I leveled him with my best “irritated-daughter” stare, to which he is entirely impervious, and asked him why he hadn’t mentioned that. Of course, he had no answer, but the box of chocolate in question was baking chocolate, and she had ingested 2 ounces. I did some math: at her size (45 lb) and that dose, she was unlikely to die, but would be at risk for seizures and was already showing the other symptoms of toxicity.

Rosie the bearded collie -Manchester Veterinary Clinic- CT- Trusted vets for your pets
Rosie the bearded collie -Manchester Veterinary Clinic- CT- Trusted vets for your pets

I tossed her in the car and drove her over to the clinic I was working at at the time, as some valium was definitely in order. Good news: the valium worked to stop her tremors and she felt much better. Bad news: it made her incredibly, insatiably hungry, a fairly common side effect of valium in dogs and cats. Which meant that, when I left her at home once she was doing better, she decided to go to town. After all, she had learned how to open cabinets!

I came home later that day to find that she had eaten three bagels, a box of dried pasta, two pounds of cat food, and a dish brush. In retrospect, crating her would probably have been a good idea…

She was back to normal the next day, and we managed to keep her chocolate-free for the rest of her long and happy life. This is despite the fact that she eventually learned how to open even baby-locked cabinets and we needed to buy a custom-made trash can as she could get into every other kind. I learned quite a bit about dogs eating stupid things from Rosie. Over the course of her lifetime, she also managed to ingest: an entire bottle of Claritin, six ears of corn (she shucked them first, which meant my living room was full of silk and leaves), a whole chicken (in about 2 minutes while my husband and I were looking at something outside), a loaf of raisin bread while staying with a friend, three and a half enormous gingerbread men, and multiple packs of gum. We got very good at inducing vomiting, let me tell you.

Rosie the bearded collie -Manchester Veterinary Clinic- CT- Trusted vets for your pets
Rosie the bearded collie -Manchester Veterinary Clinic- CT- Trusted vets for your pets

I also became very familiar with a couple of handy-dandy tools that are available to everyone. One is an online chocolate toxicity calculator. This lets you input your dog’s weight and the amount and type of chocolate they ate and it will tell you what type of reaction you might expect. Another resource I ended up on a first-name basis with was the Animal Poison Control Hotline. And she had more than one trip into the vet clinic to either induce vomiting or make sure she wasn’t going to suffer long-term ill effects from her rather remarkable abilities to procure things she shouldn’t eat.