Breaking the Rules with dogs

Sometimes, dogs need what's fun rather than what's right.


Mary Martin (not the one in Peter Pan; the one in Pittstown, New Jersey) is really mad at me.

“What a shock to read Larry Lindner’s ‘News & Views’ about what his dogs eat in regards to the teeth brushing article [July 2016]. M&M’s ????? Really??” she e-mailed. “As an editor for a newsletter from a veterinary university that claims to be for caring dog owners, it’s shocking and appalling to hear he actually GIVES his dog chocolate!!!

“I’m not sure what is more upsetting…the fact his dogs are purposely ingesting toxic chocolate or the fact that the editor of a veterinary newsletter is possibly UNAWARE that chocolate could be harmful to his dogs. I’ve always enjoyed and was enlightened and informed by your newsletter. Over the years I’ve learned many things from your articles but today was disappointed. Maybe Larry should actually READ the articles he edits. He just might learn something. For the health and safety of his dogs I hope he does.”

Okay, I probably shouldn’t start my response by saying that I also sometimes let the dogs have a lick of chocolate ice cream.

But, Mary, it’s okay — really. Remember, I once told everybody that during border collie Franklin’s first Christmas in our home, he dug into four freshly baked chocolate pecan pies — and lived (even though I had to wrestle the rolling pin away from my wife). I’m telling you, that guy is the Rasputin of dogs. Nothing can kill him. Even little 26-pound shiba inu Rosie does fine with a happy-making morsel of chocolate here and there.

Why? Because it would take a lot more than a couple of m&ms to make a dog sick from chocolate. Consider the facts (which we published in a chart in the November 2012 issue of Your Dog):

It would take an entire pound (16 ounces) of milk chocolate, or 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate, to make a 20-pound dog suffer the toxic effects of agitation, hyper-excitation, and, if things get bad enough, seizures. Two m&ms weigh about one fourteenth of a single ounce — and much of that is the non-chocolate candy coating on the outside.

Are two m&ms the best food a dog — or a person — can eat? Certainly not. Are they among life’s “culinary” pleasures? Most decidedly so.

Mary, Franklin turned eight this past summer, which means that he is officially on the cusp of “geriatric.” Even little Rosie is already five. Our time with our dogs goes so fast. With that in mind, so what if pleasure sometimes trumps strict adherence to the rules? Franklin in particular doesn’t subscribe to that whole my-body-is-a-temple notion, anyway.

If you’re ever up New England way, let’s break open a bag together. Your call on plain or peanut.

Happy tails to you,

Lawrence Lindner
Executive Editor


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here