Ask a Vet 24/7: Chocolate Ingestion, Strange Bumps & Moving with Cats

Dr. Laci Schaible

Have you ever gotten home after a vet visit and realized you forget to ask them something important about the discharge instructions or home care? Of course, this scenario typically happens after the vet hospital is closed and lines of communication are severed.

Below are real questions asked of VetLIVE veterinarians! Hopefully, the answers can help you in an emergency.

Chocolate Ingestion

Question: “My dog appears to have consumed a number of Hershey's Kisses yesterday based on what he vomited today. The dog has only vomited once and does not appear to be suffering from any other symptoms. How should I proceed?”


Hi there. How much does he weigh? Can you estimate how many kisses he ate? Were they dark, milk, or white chocolate?

Thank you for the additional info. I’ll calculate the potential for toxicity as soon as you get me this information.

Reply: “Unfortunately, I think he may have consumed an entire 11 oz bag's worth. They were milk chocolate kisses and he weighs 50 lbs. He had a bit of diarrhea this morning; however, he appears to be behaving normally. I believe he consumed the bag of chocolate sometime yesterday morning.”


Thank you. If he did eat the whole bag of 11 oz of milk chocolate, he would have likely only experienced vomiting and/or diarrhea, which it sounds like he is right on track with according to his clinical signs. There should be no long-term damage or serious consequences.

If his vomiting and diarrhea becomes profuse, which it shouldn't peak this far out, but should it do so, then a vet visit is recommended to provide supportive care (IV fluids, anti-emetics, etc.).

I hope that things calm down for your pup. Chocolate is the number one most popular flavor for dog medication and it sounds like he is definitely a fan. Make sure to keep his paws out of the candy bowl this Halloween!

Best regards, Dr. Laci

Strange Bumps

eye bump image
Question: "Hi, Penny, my 1 year old Bernese mountain dog has 3 or 4 tiny pimples/ bumps around her eyes. They don't seem to bother her. It's just around her left eye. Do you know what this could be? I could add a picture if you want to (but they are very tiny so it's really hard to see). ”



Hello. Thank you for the picture. I do think an in-person exam would be beneficial as I can't see the bumps very well but most bumps around or on the eyelids are relatively non-worrisome. I will use the word “tumor” but understand this just means a lump. Most, but not all, are cancerous. A large number of different types of tumors, with a bewildering array of names, but often of confusingly similar appearance, can occur in association with the tissues around the eye.

Tumors that occur on the haired eyelids are similar to those arising elsewhere in the skin. They include cysts, overgrowths (hyperplasias), benign (non-spreading) and occasionally malignant (spreading) cancers. Tumors may originate from the sebaceous (Meibomian) glands, sweat glands, and from cells such as those which produce melanin pigment, mast cells and the covering epithelium. Some Meibomian tumors eventually rupture to cause nodules of inflammation called chalazions. Meibomain gland tumors are what I have seen most often in practice.

While most tumors on or near the eyelids are benign, they can be cancerous. Removing them is actually quite easy, but hopefully that will not even be necessary. I'm sorry I can't tell more from the picture but a vet visit will allow for a much better visual, as well as palpation.

Penny is a lucky lady to have such a great pet parent!

Moving with Cats

Question: "We are moving into a new home with our dog and two cats, and the cats are currently in a boarding facility. They will be moving into a home with steps, and none of their things will be there just yet. What would be the best way to introduce them to the space, and helping them traverse steps without too much trauma? Besides getting the calming pheromone spray, what else can we use as they will be placed into a basement area for a very short period while we move things into the home?”


Hi there. Your dog will likely be excited about the new home. The cats will probably be a different story of course, but given that they are coming from a stressful boarding facility, a quiet and relatively dark basement may be less of a jolt. I would definitely recommend you have a couple of their things (toys, blankets they like, a shirt of yours) to keep down in the basement. Also if you have a large crate or enclosure to keep them in, I would recommend you keep them in this if they have access to food, water, and a litter box while in there.

Cats should not have trouble with steps (even if they only have three legs), so you should not need to take special measures to acclimate them to the stairs. You may also want to keep them in a small area with you before giving them full access to a house with boxes, etc. If you can let them explore a small space at a time, this will help them seem less overwhelmed by the changes. In addition, while you do want to calm them, try not to stress them out by being abnormally attentive. Try to remain as normal as possible. While you are moving in, leave them alone as much as possible, with the exception of peeking in on them a time to two to make sure they aren't excessively stressing, such as open-mouth breathing. This can be a sign of extreme stress and can even be a medical emergency if it continues for more than 30 seconds. If your cats do start open-mouth breathing, ensure they are not overheated and have access to fresh cool water. Have their favorite person sit with them, ready to take them to the ER vet if necessary. Gums that change to purple or blue are sign to rush out the door.

Some cats love the stimulation of a new environment while others want to hunker down and hide. The pheromone spray is a great idea. Don’t forget to inspect the basement closely for any rodenticide, cleaning supplies, or other unexpected lurking dangers left behind by previous owners. It is great you are thinking ahead!

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