Love for pets, science leads high school senior to develop treatment for pet poisoning

Teen working with pet drug company to test product

A love for pets and science led a San Antonio high school senior to find a possible solution to an everyday problem many dog owners have: pet poisoning by way of human foods, such as chocolate.

The end of the year engineering project for Arianne Cannon, who attends the Harmony Science Academy, could lead to real life-saving solutions for pets.

“It would be amazing for me to get it mass produced, to actually get it out there to the public. It could really benefit a lot of people,” Cannon told News 6 sister station KSAT.

The 18-year-old invented Cocoa Treat-Ment, an all-natural product that people could purchase over the counter to give their pets if they become sick after eating small amounts of chocolate.

The treatment is a two-part process that contains yogurt and hydrogen peroxide.

“You can give them the dosage, wait for them to start throwing up,” Cannon said.

The next part is the treat of her “treat-ment,” which is a mixture of dog-safe sweets and activated charcoal, “which will bind with anything that's left in their stomach and toxins that may still be in their system,” Cannon said.

Each part of the dosage is precisely measured to a dog’s size.

“If you give this to your dog and they are still showing symptoms, for one, you should still take them to the vet's office if you get the chance,” Cannon said. “This is just to try and prevent the costly expense of having your dog’s stomach pumped.”

Cannon discovered there are no over-the-counter options for treating your dog for what may or may not be chocolate poisoning, she said, and a vet’s bill could cost hundreds of dollars.

Cannon has not tested her project because she does not feel qualified to do so, but she’s working with a pet drug company to try to test and manufacture her Cocoa Treat-Ment. She even has the logo for it. 

“I would love to see that my project is making a difference,” she said.

Cannon will present her project later this month for a grade. She will be starting Penn State University next month.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is a resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. In 2017, APCC received 199,000 cases concerning potential poisonings, of which 89.1 percent were dog cases.

Human foods were the third item on APCC’s Top Toxins of 2017 list, and chocolate, which is a distinct category, was number 5. Food made up 10.9 percent, or 21,648, of cases in 2017, while chocolate made up 8.8 percent, or 17,540, of cases in 2017.