Many pet owners are aware that their canine companions shouldn’t consume chocolate, but why is that? In the blink of an eye, a chocolate button that lands on the floor can go forever; thus, it is imperative that you are prepared for the unfortunate event that your dog consumes chocolate.
As a country of dog lovers, we are all for sharing the pleasures of life with our four-legged pals, and that includes the occasional treat of a great bar of chocolate. However, as with anything, it is possible to consume too much chocolate. It’s shocking to find that even a small bit of chocolate can be fatal for dogs, therefore it’s important to get them to a vet as soon as possible if they eat any.
In an effort to keep your dog safe and sound, we at Purina have compiled this comprehensive reference to chocolate poisoning in dogs and what to do if your dog makes a bad decision and eats some chocolate.
Dogs, can they eat chocolate?
Do not feed chocolate to your dog. Although not all dogs will become sick from eating chocolate, it is still bad for them. If you give your dog a bite of your Easter egg as a treat, it could have the opposite of the desired impact and lead to expensive veterinary care.
Is there a specific reason why dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate?
Unlike humans, dogs are unable to naturally metabolize theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate. Therefore, consuming theobromine-containing foods might lead to a hazardous buildup.
Can you name any chocolates that are worse than others?
The theobromine content of various chocolates varies greatly. Milk and white chocolate contain the lowest concentrations, whereas dark chocolate and cocoa are among the highest. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate can be fatal to a 19-kilogram dog, therefore getting emergency veterinary care is essential if you fear your dog has eaten any.
Since every animal has a unique metabolic rate, it is impossible to say how much chocolate a dog would have to eat before it would be in danger of becoming very ill.
Signs your dog has chocolate poisoning
Keep a tight check on your dog over the next 24 hours if you think it may have eaten chocolate, as symptoms usually appear then. There are a few things to keep an eye out for if you suspect your dog has chocolate poisoning:
- Increased rate of breathing.
- Increased heart rate.
- Frequent urination.
It’s possible that your dog will swiftly throw up the chocolate and have no more complications. Contacting a veterinarian is recommended regardless of the amount or type of chocolate consumed.
When chocolate enters the body of a dog, what to do
You might not suspect that your pet has been sneaking Easter candy until they start showing symptoms. Immediately after discovering or suspecting that your dog has had chocolate, you should take the following measures:
- Quickly get in touch with a vet and give them the details.
If you discover that your dog has had chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately. If you can, have the chocolate’s packaging on hand to provide more information and help them estimate how much chocolate your dog consumed. If you’re calling your dog’s regular vet, they should already know roughly how big and heavy your pet is. This information will help determine how serious of a threat chocolate poisoning actually is.
- Take them to the vet immediately.
The sooner you can get your pet to the vet after calling ahead to make an appointment, the better. If it has been less than two hours since they ate the chocolate, they may try to induce vomiting to get rid of the harmful element before it has a chance to build up in their system. Under no circumstances should you try to induce vomiting at home without first consulting a veterinarian. If your dog shows any signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs, your veterinarian will start a sequence of reactionary therapies, which may include intravenous fluids and antiarrhythmic medicines if your dog is having seizures.
If your dog consumes chocolate, the best course of action is to take him or her to the vet as soon as possible. The sooner your pet can be examined by a vet and induced to vomit, the higher the chance they will have of avoiding potentially catastrophic long-term problems.
Dogs who are allergic to chocolate can consider these alternatives
You can still spoil your dog in places where chocolate is against limits. Use only dog treats that have been vet-approved and particularly made to prevent disease. Your dog, however, would much rather spend several hours gnawing on a delectable bone than indulge in a slice of chocolate cake or even a fast and rewarding dip into the dog biscuit bag. In addition to satisfying your dog’s cravings, you may find a wide variety of treats on the market that are good for their health in other ways, such as by providing extra nutrition or cleaning their teeth.
If you have a dog, resist the urge to give it chocolate for Easter or Christmas. This could lead to an unexpectedly dramatic family gathering. To properly reward your dog, you should only give him goodies that have been tested for safety and are designed for dogs.