Sunday, February 3, 2013

Toxic Chocolate and Dogs

So I usually try to avoid subjects like this that almost certainly will cause a huge conflict. But since it’s a new year and I’m feeling particularly conflicty, I’ve decided it’s time to write this post that I’ve been wanting to write for quite a few months now. And this is going to be a rather long post, so grab yourself your favorite chocolate and settle in.

Everyone has heard the classic “Chocolate is toxic for dogs.” We’ve been warned that any amount will end their lives – even just licking the chocolate! Okay, maybe not that far, but you catch my meaning. This old story has become nothing more than an old wives tale to me, and I’ll tell you why.

My mother told me that she used to feed her dog the occasional piece of chocolate, and her dog – a small peekapoo – lived a full 18 year life – in human years. <—that’s your mini story.

Here’s another one. When I was younger, like 5-years-oldish, my sister and I would allow our dog – a Black Labrador – to indulge in some Halloween candy with us, he loved Tootsie Rolls, M&Ms, and Hershey’s Kisses. He, as well, lived a full doggy life.

Now that I’m the owner of a Terrier Mix and a Chihuahua, I decided to further investigate why those dogs were able to eat chocolate after what had been told to me and everyone else.

What I found, is that people – like dogs – can also ingest too much chocolate to a point of becoming very, very ill. Chocolate is toxic for humans too! Which further led my investigations to believe that if humans can ingest chocolate to a point, there must be a point that dogs can ingest it too.

I also found that other researchers concluded the same thing. I learned it’s not the chocolate that causes the toxicity, it’s the “theobromine” in the chocolate. Here’s the breakdown for chocolate toxicity in order of least toxic to most:

  • White chocolate – signs of toxicity can occur when 45 ounces per pound of body weight is eaten; so a 10 pound dog would need to eat approximately 28 pounds of white chocolate before the chocolate was toxic.
  • Milk Chocolate – signs of toxicity can occur when 1 ounce per pound of body weight is eaten, so a 10 pound dog would need to eat before he became ill.
  • Sweet Cocoa (includes instant cocoa) – only one third of an ounce of chocolate per pound of body weight is needed before symptoms of toxicity would show. A 10 pound dog would need three ounces.
  • Baking Chocolate – this has the highest incidence of theobromine and just one tenth of an ounce per pound of body weight is enough to be toxic.

Now here’s the warnings for you. These estimates above are the estimated point where toxicity could occur, for safety reasons, you don’t want to feed your dog anywhere near that point – if you feed him any at all. The above info IS just an estimate, it could vary depending on your dog. Your dog could be allergic to theobromine or some thing else in the chocolate or could have some other health issue that is affected or made worse by the consumption of chocolate.

I’ve also heard from that dogs don’t digest chocolate well in their system so it could take them longer to digest or mess with their chi or something (didn’t look into that, that’s a whole other range of research, I was just looking for the point of toxicity). The reason that they probably said all chocolate is a dog killer is because a little bit can be too much, and for that reason, it’s not worth it to chance it.

Also, if you start feeding your dog chocolate, it’ll be more important for you to keep any and all chocolate out of his/her reach, because they could develop a taste for it, and won’t know when enough is enough.

The information here is not intended to make you run out and give your dog a chocolate bar, it’s to get rid of the rumor that any amount of chocolate is bad for dogs. And to assure you that if your dog has eaten a bite of chocolate he/she won’t die and you probably won’t have to take him/her to the vet just for that little tiny bit.

My blog post can’t cover it all. There’s tons of info and facts out there. I’m also including a link for how to know if your dog consumed too much chocolate.

Dog Topics: How Much Chocolate Can Your Dog Eat

Dog Owners Digest: Chocolate and Dog Poisoning

eZineArticles: My Dog Ate Chocolate

So give me your thoughts! Be biased and mean. Or all nice and fluffy. And Happy February!

As a side note, I don’t accept responsibility for anything that may happen to your dog upon eating chocolate. As mentioned, there could be some other underlying health issue or allergy. So use common sense, and when in doubt, contact your vet. Though they’ll most likely scold you for considering feeding them human food.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I was just sitting by the computer right now. Searching the App Store over for a good journaling app – which means a journaling app review/rundown is probably in the near future. But the point is, I’m not actually doing anything that I’m supposed to be doing. It’s November. November means NaNoWriMo time (see for details). I ‘m supposed to be writing.

I’m supposed to have written 13,333 words by now. I’ve written just over 2,000. In fact, this blog post is likely to be almost as long as my entire novel at the moment.

This is my 4th year taking part in NaNoWriMo, make no mistake, this isn’t the first time I’ve very much on purpose procrastinated. There is no other excuse for it, I have been genuinely procrastinating this first week of NaNo. I haven’t had much else besides the occasional class here and there, but nothing to have a genuine excuse for not reaching my daily word count goal. No real reason why I shouldn’t have 13,333 words right now.

The point of all this? It’s perfectly possible to catch up all those words. It’s perfectly possible to still reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Procrastination is okay… to a point. It’s perfectly normal to procrastinate – especially on things that our minds make harder than the task actually is. There’s nothing wrong with it, on one condition – you do not give up.

The more you procrastinate, likely the more work you’ll have to do, and the more perseverance you’ll need to achieve your goal. It just means that at one point, you’re going to have to be doubly focused on what you need or want to get done.

So if you’re taking part in NaNo – don’t give up. After procrastinating in NaNo in years past, I have written 5,000 words in a hour in order to catch up. So if you get down to the last day and found you haven’t written a word, with enough perseverance, you can actually finish that novel in one day.

Of course, that would be master Yoda writer mind level, and I really, really don’t recommend it. But it’s 2% staying on schedule, 98% perseverance that will get you through. So keep going!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Geek Food

Every time I use the term “Geek Food” (also known as “Gamer Food”), I get laughs. But that seriously should be a more widely recognized category – and that is the reason for my blog post. I’ve asked several people if they actually know what geek food is, but very few people know if they aren’t geeks themselves. Let me break it down.

Geek food – eh-hem – is food that does not get your fingers greasy, goopy, cheesy, sticky, or crummy. It is food that is easily consumed and in no way will harm the electronic devices that are generally such a large part of our lives.

Food like M&Ms, Hershey’s Pieces, Reese’s Pieces, and the Pizza and PB&J flavored Gamer Grub are all good examples of geek food – and to be honest, all I can come up with at the top of my mind.

Are you a gamer/geek? What’s your favorite geek food?

“If every beginning had an end,

we would have found the end of the internet by now.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

To Be or Not to Be?

A few weeks ago, I went to see The Hunger Games in theatres, I thought it was great, so naturally, I started reading the series and is now my new obsession. I just finished reading The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and started reading The Mockingjay. I’m fond of both the books and the movie because the storyline is like nothing I’ve read before. Sure, there are plenty of post-apocalyptical novels around, but unlike the others, this one didn’t have an aliens and what-not. It’s utterly realistic and believable – and that thoroughly appeals to me.

If you’ve read or seen The Hunger Games you know it’s all about life and death… or in other words: war. *SPOILER, HIGHLIGHT TO READ* –> As I was reading, it was obvious that Katniss Everdeen wasn’t going to die because she’s the main character, but all of the other characters are up in the air. It was simultaneously comforting and annoying. <- So I got to thinking with my author mind: What if the main character died at the end of the book? Or the middle of the book? It’s very, very rare to find a fictional book where the main character dies at the end.

My question to you is: Would you keep reading a book if the character died at the end? Would you prefer the character to die at the end? Would you prefer they live? Does it depend on the book?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Different Types of Criticism: Post-Publication

A few weeks ago, I explained the different types of criticism you’ll run across as a writer pre-publication. Today, I’m explaining what you’ll face after publishing. I’m going to break it down a differently than I did last time, as you still receive bad and good criticism, I just want to elaborate on how to deal with it, and also the different kinds of places you’ll deal with it.

Post-Publication -

This is when the book has been published and is available either as an eBook, Audiobook, or Print book – after rounds of editing has been complete and it’s up for sale everywhere.

Reviews -

Bad Reviews: You’ll probably receive negative reviews from professional reviewers, unskilled readers, and everything in between. The absolute most important thing to remember post-publication is to not comment. Don’t comment on it at all. You’ll just make yourself look bad.

If you receive the review from a friend, co-worker, or just someone who has done the review for you and they are speaking directly with you via email or some other form of communication, thank them for their honest opinion. No matter what they’ve said or done or how bad the review – thank them.

Good Reviews: Pretty much the same rules apply no matter if the review is good or bad. Indirect review (i.e. Amazon or Goodreads review section, etc.) – don’t comment. Direct review – give thanks.

Regardless of if the readers liked the book or are just slandering your work or name (which doesn’t happen all that often), they put time into reading it and should be thanked for their time.

In Person – So let’s say we’re at a book signing or some other public event and a person who has read your book comes up to you.

Bad critic: They say it was a bad book or they didn’t enjoy it (I’ve only ever heard about this happening once, never experienced it myself, so it’s a rarity). Since it’s face-to-face you can’t actually ignore them… well, you could, but it would be almost as rude as saying something you might regret later. Just bite your tongue and say “I’m sorry” or “I’ll take that into consideration” or something to that effect.

Good critic: They say they enjoyed reading your work or similarly something positive. Thank them. Thank them for reading. Maybe even feel free to tell them about some of your other books.

You can begin to see a bit of a pattern in how to deal with things. If you’re a new writer, you can save these rules and use it as a cheat sheet that way you can stop and take a breath the next time you’re faced with criticism.