If you love chocolates and you have a dog, you better be careful and make sure that the chocolates are always out of your dog’s reach. Why? Chocolates are toxic to your furry companion.

chocolate poisoning in dogs

Chocolates can kill your dog.

Dogs, just like many people, have a sweet tooth. Yes, they love sweet things and they are known to be indiscriminate eaters. Which is probably why chocolate poisoning or chocolate toxicosis is more common in dogs than cats.

Why Are Chocolates Toxic to Dogs?

Chocolates contain certain properties that are toxic to dogs and cats such as caffeine and theobromine. Compared to other domestic animals, dogs are especially sensitive to theobromine. According to studies, dogs metabolize theobromine very slowly which means that this substance stays in your dog’s bloodstream for a very long time.

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Even Small Amounts Is Too Much

When it comes to chocolates, there is no safe amount for your dog. Even a small amount is too much and can cause adverse reactions.  Dark chocolates and baker’s chocolate are the most common culprits of chocolate poisoning in dogs. But there are other sources too such as chewable chocolate flavored multivitamins, baked goods, chocolate covered espresso beans and cocoa bean mulch.

The worst is dry cocoa powder since it contains the highest amount of theobromine per ounce – 800 mg per ounce while baker’s chocolate is at 450 mg per ounce.

Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicosis

Symptoms of chocolate toxicosis or chocolate poisoning do not appear right after ingestion. Usually the symptoms start showing within 4 to 5 hours and goes on for 12 to 36 hours. The signs normally progress very quickly. Your dog can die due to respiratory and or cardiac failure. And this can happen up to several days after your dog has eaten chocolates.

Here are symptoms to watch out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Rigid muscles
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Seizures

In serious cases of chocolate toxicosis, a dog can experience the following:

  • Weakness
  • Coma
  • Cardiac failure
  • Death

What to Do In Case Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate

If you suspect that your dog has somehow eaten chocolate, take her to your vet or the nearest dog emergency clinic immediately.

Treatments for Chocolate Toxicosis

If it happens that you were able to take your dog to the vet after recently ingesting chocolate, most probably your vet will induce vomiting right away. Activated charcoal is usually given to prevent or limit the absorption of theobromine into the bloodstream.

The goal in treating chocolate toxicosis is to prevent further absorption of theobromine and also treatment is supportive in nature. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, additional needed medications and care will be given. IV fluids is usually administered so that your dog can get rid of theobromine through urine faster plus it will keep your dog hydrated through this crisis.

Keep Chocolates Away from Your Dog

Recovery can take up to several days even with immediate veterinary intervention. And unfortunately, not all dogs survive. Which is why it is very important that you make sure that all forms of chocolate and products with chocolate are stashed safely out of your dog’s reach. Whenever eating chocolate or any product containing chocolate, be very careful and not let any crumb fall off the floor. If it happens, wipe the floor clean immediately.

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Image Credit: theoptimaldog.com