Chocolate can make dogs very sick or even kill them because it contains a substance called theobromine, which is like a poison to dogs
Chocolate is toxic to dogs (and cats!).Even chocolate ingestion can result in serious illness. Chocolate is toxic because it contains a substance called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Both Theobromine and caffeine are also used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. Dogs cannot metabolize as well as people can. This makes them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects.
How much chocolate does a dog eat will be poisoned?
Depending on the type of chocolate, the amount of toxic theobromine varies . The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for dogs. Baked chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate are high in concentration and contain 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce, while regular milk chocolate contains only around 44-58 mg / ounce. White chocolate poses hardly any threat of chocolate poisoning with just 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate (that said, dogs can still get sick from all fats and sugar, which can cause pancreatitis). To put this in perspective, a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would only need to eat 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate, or 9 ounces of milk chocolate, to potentially show signs of poisoning. For many dogs, eating small amounts of milk chocolate is not harmful.
What is a sign of a dog chocolate poisoning?
Clinical signs depend on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. For many dogs, the most common clinical signs are vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst, excessive urination, and a fast heartbeat. In some severe cases, muscle tremors, convulsions and heart failure may be seen. In older pets that eat a lot of dark chocolate or high quality baked chocolate, sudden cardiac death can occur, especially in dogs with pre-existing heart disease. Complications can make the prognosis of chocolate poisoning worse. When in doubt, the vet will treat you immediately if you ingest a toxic amount of chocolate.
Signs of chocolate poisoning can take several hours to develop and can last for days, due to the duration of theobromine’s action. Theobromine can even be reabsorbed from the bladder, so intravenous fluids and frequent walking may be needed to encourage urination. It is important to seek medical attention by calling your veterinarian as soon as you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate.
What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?
If you think your dog eats chocolate, contact your veterinarian to see if a poisonous amount of chocolate was ingested. If a toxic amount is ingested, you should have your dog examined by a veterinarian immediately. The sooner the theobromine is removed from the body of the dog, the better your dog is.
How to treat chocolate poisoning?
Treatment depends on the amount and type of chocolate eaten. If treated early, the removal of chocolate from the stomach by administering emetics and giving activated charcoal to block the absorption of theobromine into the body may be all that is needed. Activated charcoal can be used every four to six hours for the first twenty-four hours to reduce theobromine’s continued reabsorption and circulation. All dogs that eat chocolate should be closely monitored for any signs of agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. Usually, drugs that slow the heart rate (for example, beta blockers) may be needed to treat high heart rate and arrhythmia.