What Happens If a Dog Eats Chocolate? (2024)

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and depending on how much your dog eats and their weight, it could cause serious health problems. That's why it's important to know what happens if your dog eats chocolate.

Symptoms usually appear within six to 12 hours of ingestion, so it's important to call your veterinarian as soon as possible. They'll be able to tell you what to do and give you guidance/recommendations over the phone.

Symptoms

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, and seizures. This is because it contains caffeine and theobromine, which are both very toxic to pets.

If you think your dog has ingested chocolate, take them to a vet immediately. This will help diagnose the issue quickly and ensure your pet receives the treatment they need to recover from this condition.

It’s important to remember that different types of chocolate have different concentrations of theobromine, so be sure to keep track of what kind your dog has eaten if it causes serious problems. The Merck Vet Manual states that theobromine concentrations in dark, semisweet, and baking chocolate are higher than that of milk or white chocolate.

When a dog eats chocolate, it takes just 20 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight to have mild symptoms, with cardiac symptoms occurring around 40-50 mg/kg, and seizures happening at dosages greater than 60 mg/kg. Typically, veterinarians will induce vomiting and then give activated charcoal to help move any theobromine from the dog’s system and into the urine.

Treatment

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which can cause toxicity in dogs. Dark or baker’s chocolate is more toxic than milk or white chocolate, so it’s best to avoid it.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity may appear between four and 24 hours after ingestion. The earliest signs are vomiting and diarrhea.

These symptoms can be relieved with a quick trip to the vet and treatment. Your dog will be given sedatives to calm them down and activated charcoal administered to absorb the theobromine in their system.

In addition, they will be given intravenous fluids and anti-convulsants if seizures are present. The prognosis for most chocolate toxicity cases is good, but it’s rare for deaths to occur.

It’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate. They will be able to advise you on the next steps and what to do in your home if you can’t get your pet to the vet.

Prevention

If you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate, there are some prevention options available. First, call a veterinarian and describe the circ*mstances. The vet will be able to help you determine whether your dog has consumed a dangerous amount of chocolate and what the symptoms will be.

The earliest symptoms to watch for are vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are the result of a chemical called theobromine that affects dogs' central nervous system and heart.

It isn't uncommon for dogs to eat too much chocolate and become sick. It is best to prevent this by keeping it out of reach and avoiding giving it to your dog.

Another way to prevent chocolate poisoning is by putting activated charcoal in your pet's water supply. This will block the absorption of theobromine into your dog's system, preventing it from becoming toxic. However, activated charcoal isn't suitable for every case of chocolate toxicity so ask your veterinarian before using it.

Precautions

Chocolate is dangerous to dogs because it contains a chemical called theobromine, which acts as a diuretic, heart stimulant and blood vessel dilator. It’s also a caffeine-like substance, which can cause tremors and irritability.

The severity of a dog’s symptoms depends on the amount of chocolate he ingests and his weight. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, it’s crucial to call a vet immediately to assess the situation and decide what the best course of action is.

Depending on the time of the ingestion, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to expel the chocolate and any toxins in the stomach. Other treatment options include flushing the stomach with water, giving a drug called ‘activated charcoal’ that can help absorb some of the toxins before they enter your pet’s bloodstream and/or a medication to prevent seizures.

Make sure to keep an oral dosing syringe with hydrogen peroxide in your emergency kit, so you can administer it to your pet if recommended by the vet.

What Happens If a Dog Eats Chocolate? (2024)
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