Germantown company develops potential at-home treatment for dogs that eat chocolate

NOW: Germantown company develops potential at-home treatment for dogs that eat chocolate

GERMANTOWN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Leo will eat just about anything.

One year ago, the golden retriever ate an entire bag of Baker's dark chocolate; more than enough to kill him.

"It's really scary when you hear, 'Okay, like you need to get your dog to either throw up or immediately rush them to an emergency vet,'" Leo's owner Amadeus Benitez said.

Luckily, Leo survived.

The life-threatening scare sent Benitez on a quest to find an at-home cure for chocolate poisoning. 

"I look at what the toxins are. I look at what could possibly happen biochemically, and I came up with the solution," Benitez said.

With a degree in physics, Benitez, CEO and co-founder of Essential Research, LLC., partnered with immunologists, chemical engineers and biologists to develop Chocolate Rescue for Dogs, an at-home therapy claiming to prevent illness brought on by chocolate poisoning.

The treatment is delivered orally through a beef-flavored soft treat.

"You can just feed it to your dog as a treat, because your dog thinks it's a treat, and the active ingredients will sift out everything in your dog's stomach and attract and safely and permanently encapsulate the toxins and then it's just evacuated through your dog's system," Benitez said.

Benitez said Chocolate Rescue passed benchtop studies, mouse trials and is currently undergoing dog trials in California.

"This product has the potential to revolutionize the way that chocolate toxicity can be handled," small and exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Ross Bernstein said.

Bernstein said chocolate toxicity is rarely fatal, but it can cause significant illness in dogs.

"They're much more sensitive to the adverse effects of it. So, like increased heart rate, agitation, muscle tremors," Bernstein said.

Berstein told CBS 58 he's waiting to see how the treatment does in trial with dogs before recommending it to his canine patients.

"I have to base my recommendations off of medicine and evidence that's already there. So, I can't say yet to go and get it. Although, it does look very promising," Bernstein said.

The product states it is not a substitute for veterinary care and owners should contact veterinarians immediately if their dog eats chocolate.

The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the product, according to the box.

Dog owners should speak with their veterinarians before giving their dog treatments.

Benitez said he's hopeful Chocolate Rescue will one day bring peace of mind for all dog owners.

"The two things I love in the world are science and my golden retriever, right, and being able to make a career out of saving dogs, I just feel incredibly lucky," Benitez said.

The product is available to buy online.

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