It's been a long time since I've had a moment of pure and utter panic with Astrea. In fact, now that I'm typing this, before this happened I don't know that she's ever done anything to scare me like this. But, we've all had those moments that just leave you absolutely frozen with panic and fear. You know, like when you're at the mall and can't find your kid? That kind of panic. That's what I experienced Wednesday night.
I've been spring cleaning. A lot. With nothing to do but job hunt and wait - I figured what a perfect opportunity to purge my house of junk, do the decorating I've been putting off and do that cleaning you never want to do, but has to get done. I've been going room to room so I can really focus and get everything done. It's all I've done for the past couple of days. Because I knew I was going to do this I didn't unpack when I got back from Carmel on Monday. Just set my bags on the floor and figured once I got to my bedroom and bathroom I'd put that stuff away. Because I leave my bags on the floor all the time I didn't think twice about it. I didn't think there was anything in my bags that Astrea would want, and she's not the kind of dog that goes searching through bags so I wasn't worried about anything.
After she had dinner Wednesday night Astrea disappeared into my bedroom. It's not uncommon for her to sleep on my bed, especially when it's rainy and cold like it's been. I made my own dinner, watched some TV and never once considered checking on Astrea. At some point she rejoined me in the living room. She was a little more barky than usual, but again, not uncommon since it's been rainy and she hasn't had the chance to get her energy out on her walks. By all accounts it was a pretty normal night - then I went into my bedroom.
All around the room I found pieces of a blue box. At first I didn't know what it was, then the panic started to set in. One of my friends had given me a box of chocolate for Easter. I completely forgot about it. It was in my unpacked bag that had been in the same, untouched spot since Monday. And now, all that was left was the box. I was really hoping that maybe she didn't get to the chocolate. Maybe she just tore the box open and that was that. I searched all under my bed, in the closet and bathroom looking for some left over chocolate. Nope. She ate every last piece of that stupid chocolate cross. I was cursing everyone I could while I collected the box and checked Astrea out.
She wasn't acting particularly weird. She wasn't especially thirsty. Wasn't panting. Wasn't showing any of signs of chocolate toxicity that I could tell, but it couldn't have been more than an hour or so since she ate the chocolate and I didn't know how long would take for it to get into her system. The worst part was, although I had picked up the box and read it, I convinced myself she ate an entire pound of chocolate. My first instinct was to rush her to the vet. But, the closest 24 hour vet that I know about is 30 minutes away, it was raining, and there was a good chance I was over-reacting. So, I calmed myself down, reminded myself that tons of dogs eat chocolate and nothing happens, and called the ASPCA Poison Control while searching the internet.
And here's what I learned:
1. I'm not the only person who does something stupid like this around Easter. With so much candy around this time of year, it's not uncommon for dogs to get into it.
2. Chocolate toxicity is based on several factors - type of chocolate, amount eaten and size of the dog. Once I got the package in front of me, I discovered that Astrea had not eaten a pound, but 2 oz of milk chocolate. Lucky for us 2 oz of milk chocolate in a 25 pound dog is not enough to cause real alarm.
3. There was a good chance she would have the poops, and I should keep a close eye on her, but chances are she would be fine.
So I covered the bathroom floor in potty pads, watched her carefully and had a terrible nights sleep. And she's fine. She got up a couple times in the night and pooped, but that was all. She was acting totally normal this morning, was perfectly happy to go to day care and aside from my own panic and anxiety, it was (luckily!) rather uneventful.
But I can't stress enough that although it was uneventful - we got very lucky. Had she got into a pack of gum, or more of a different type of chocolate this could have ended very differently. Astrea is sleeping next to me now and I'm so very thankful. So the moral of the story is this - no matter how much you trust your dog, the smell of a yummy treat may be too much for them to handle. Even if your dog hasn't done something before, doesn't mean they won't try it. In case of emergency, don't freak out. Stay calm, call the proper people and do whatever you need to do to tend to your pet.