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A tiny dog with a giant appetite for mischief landed himself in a life-threatening emergency – when he went on a Boxing Day chocolate binge.
Miniature Dachshund Alfie munched his way through EIGHT separate bars of super-strong Green & Black’s dark chocolate weighing a total of 120 grams.
He grabbed the 70 per cent cocoa treats when he was accidentally shut in a sitting room full of festive temptation.
Then he wolfed down an entire chocolate flavoured panettone – after ingeniously prising the Italian-style sweet bread out of its protective plastic tube.
Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs – as are the raisins and sultanas which can be found in panettone – meaning Alfie was in double danger of severe poisoning and potential organ failure.
Emergency Response: How Bethany and Vets Now Averted a Crisis
Fortunately, Alfie’s quick-thinking owner Bethany Lyon was aware of the risks to dogs posed by both chocolate and dried grapes and immediately called pet emergency service Vets Now for help.
And moments later seven-year-old Alfie was on his way to the 24-hour Vets Now animal hospital in Glasgow, where he was admitted for urgent treatment.
The on-duty team checked Alfie over thoroughly – then gave him medicine to make him sick in an attempt to clear his stomach of the toxins.
Thanks to Bethany raising the alarm so swiftly, Alfie hadn’t had time to digest the chocolate haul and the nausea strategy worked, averting a potential crisis given the amount and strength of chocolate he’d consumed compared to his tiny body size.
And an hour or so later, a sheepish-looking Alfie was on his way home, none the worse for his brush with disaster and with charcoal tablets to continue cleaning out his tummy.
Dog walker Bethany, from Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, said: “I think I was bit jinxed last Christmas. I had Covid and Alfie, me and my other dog Jess, who is a Border Collie, were staying with my step-mum and dad.
“On Boxing Day I was feeling pretty ill thanks to the Covid and went to bed quite early.
“Then at 6am the next morning I got woken up by the sound of Alfie barking and yelping frantically.
“I went to find out what was going on and realised he’d been stuck in the living room where there was just a scene of chaos.
“He’d managed to get the box of chocolate bars down from the coffee table and he’d then used his teeth and paws to take the wrappers off before wolfing them down.
“Then I saw that he’d got the bread as well – there were five Panettones in a cylindrical tube, which he’d knocked to the floor and opened up.
“He ignored four of them and went for the chocolate one which was in the middle.
“You have to take your hat off to Alfie – he’s very dedicated to food-thieving and what he lacks in size he makes up for in cunning!
“You look at his tiny wee legs and think there’s no mischief he’ll be able to create – but the opposite is the case.
“He doesn’t steal food if you’re there – but if go to another room or turn your back on him for a second, he’s lethal.
“Previously he managed to get hold of a spicy pizza covered in jalapeno peppers and chillis – there was no way he’d be tall enough to get that from the worktop, so he got a dog I was fostering at the time to knock it down for him.
“As you can imagine, we were at the vets on that occasion as well!
“With this chocolate binge he went on, he ate so much that I’m amazed he didn’t just explode.
“No wonder he was yelping in the morning!
“In hindsight I can see the funny side of it – but at the time it was pretty serious and I’m very grateful that Vets Now were open to take care of him.”
Lessons Learned: Pet Safety During the Holidays
Emergency Vet Dave Leicester, head of telehealth at Vets Now, said: “Alfie had eaten an unusually large amount of chocolate, especially for such a small dog and raisins and sultanas can be extremely toxic to dogs.
“It was really important that Bethany sought help when she did. Time is of the essence with toxicity cases like Alfie’s.
“If Bethany had held back from calling, the consequences for Alfie could have been very serious indeed and we’re very pleased to have been able to help.
“We all hope Bethany and Alfie have a much less dramatic Christmas this year!”