What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?

by Chelsea Dogs

Why is chocolate bad for my dog?

Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine which is a bit like caffeine that is poisonous to dogs. The amount of theobromine is different in all the different types of chocolate, white chocolate has the least amount of theobromine and dark chocolate has the most and therefore is the most toxic to your dog.

What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?

Symptoms to look out for:

Theobromine mainly affects your dogs heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms will start to show between 4-24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate. Symptoms will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (theobromine) your dog has ingested in relation to your dogs size.

Symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting (could include blood)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness and hyperactivity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle tension, incoordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures

What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?

Depending on how much chocolate your dog has eaten, treatment may be needed so please contact your vet as soon as possible. You can help your vet by telling them how much chocolate you think your dog has eaten, when your dog ate the chocolate and the type of chocolate it was. Take the wrappers with you if you can as these can provide a lot of information. This will help your vet work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic amount of chocolate or not and what treatment your dog is likely to need.

What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate? 2

Treatment

There is no antidote to theobromine so in most cases your vet will induce vomiting. Your vet may also wash out your dogs stomach and feed them activated charcoal which will absorb any theobromine left in the intestine. Other treatments will depend on the signs your dog is showing. They may need intravenous fluids (a drip), medication to control heart rate, blood pressure and seizure activity.

With quick intervention and appropriate treatment, even in dogs that have eaten large amounts of chocolate, the outcome for a poisoned dog is usually good.

In summary, what should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate? Take your dog to the vets as soon as possible with any chocolate wrappers from the chocolate your dog has eaten.

dog and chocolate cake
There is an alternative to chocolate that is completely safe for dogs, it is called carob and you will find it in many chocolate flavoured dog treats!

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