Affenpinscher Melvin swallowed the 85% cocoa chocolate bar while his unsuspecting owner was in a shop

A naughty dog left his owner in a “blind panic” when he gulped down a bar of dark chocolate she’d inadvertently left in her car.

Affenpinscher Melvin ended up needing emergency treatment after carefully unwrapping and then eating the 85% cocoa treat.

His better-behaved friend Wicket, who was also in the car at the time, watched Melvin commit the wrongdoing but refused to get involved.

The dogs’ distraught owner April Lachlan, from Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, said two-year-old Melvin indulged in the highly toxic treat after she’d nipped into a shop.

As soon as April discovered the empty wrapping, she contacted Vets Now and was advised to rush the pair to Vets Now’s pet emergency hospital in Glasgow.

image of Melvin, dog that ate chocolate for vets now article on dog ate chocolate
Melvin was rushed to Vets Now after eating dark chocolate

April said: “I bought a five pack of 85% cocoa dark chocolate while out at the shops. I ate one of the bars and put the remaining four in the side compartment of the car door.

“I then quickly went to another shop and left the dogs in the car. But when I returned I discovered an empty wrapper lying on the seat. I’d no idea which dog had eaten it.

“I went into a blind panic. I knew straight away that it wasn’t good and that dark chocolate is highly toxic. I don’t usually leave food in the car, but I was running around doing lots of stuff and just stupidly left the chocolate there.

“I went online to Vets Now and used the chocolate toxicity calculator to work out the dose and how poisonous it was. I then phoned them and I was advised to bring the dogs in straight away.

“I’m just so glad we got treated so fast. If I’d waited until symptoms started to appear, then it could have been far worse.”

Our emergency vets deal with tens of thousands of chocolate poisoning cases every year, and there’s a 309% spike during the festive period.

Surveys reveal 94% of dog owners are aware chocolate is poisonous to dogs while 55% admit their dogs have eaten chocolate at some point in their lives.

image of two dogs who ate chocoalte for vets now article on dog ate chocolate
Melvine and Wicket were both admitted to Vets Now, although, thankfully, Wicket hadn't eaten any chocolate.

How much chocolate could be dangerous?

Following her emergency ordeal, April now falls into both of those categories.

She added: “I’ve always been really careful with dangerous foods, but I just had one of those moments. Now I’m terrified to keep chocolate in the house.

“Everyone should be really conscious about how dangerous it can be. My advice would be don’t wait if you think your dog has eaten dark chocolate – even if you’re not 100% sure call your vet straight away for advice.

“Vets Now were amazing, I was in floods of tears, and all the staff were incredible. They managed to calm me down and get the dogs treated so fast.”

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning typically occur between four and 24 hours after ingestion.

However, owners who suspect their pet has eaten a toxic amount should not wait for signs to appear before they contact a vet. Instead, they should telephone their vet immediately or, out of hours, their nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic.

Image of two dogs who were rushed to Vets Now emergency hospital after eating chocolate for Vets Now article on dog eating chocolate
April wasn't sure which of her two dogs had eaten the chocolate

More on this topic

Vet surgeon Camilla Ferrero was part of the team – at the Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow – who treated Melvin.

She said: “Thankfully, Melvin’s owners brought him straight to the hospital, which meant we were able to take action very quickly. After some medication to make him sick as well as close monitoring, he went home feeling fine.

“As long as it’s treated early and there’s been no kidney damage the prognosis for chocolate toxicity is generally good.”

The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Glasgow – where Melvin received treatment – is regarded as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the UK.

It’s one of three Vets Now hospitals across the UK that are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s 58 clinics and hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.