Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and depending on the type and quantity of chocolate consumed and the weight of your dog, it might cause a major medical emergency situation. That stated, if your dog consumed a small amount of milk chocolate, you don’t always need to panic. Discover how much is too much, which types of chocolate are the most dangerous, and what signs to try to find that may signal your dog needs treatment.
Why Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? Chocolate consists of both theobromine and caffeine, both which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs, the Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health describes. The risk of your dog becoming ill from ingesting chocolate depends on the type and quantity of chocolate taken in and the weight of the dog (determine your dog’s risk of toxicity with this user friendly program). The concentrations of these harmful substances differs amongst various types of chocolates. Here are a few types of chocolate listed in order of theobromine material:
- Cocoa powder (most poisonous).
- Unsweetened baker’s chocolate.
- Semisweet chocolate.
- Dark chocolate.
- Milk chocolate.
- White chocolate (not extremely hazardous).
Although a couple of Hersey kisses are not likely to affect a medium-sized dog, if you know your dog has consumed chocolate, it’s important to monitor him for signs of toxicity (see listed below), and it’s advised that you contact your veterinarian.
What are the Signs of Chocolate Poisoning?
Signs of chocolate poisoning normally appear within 6 to 12 hours after your dog has consumed it, may last as much as 72 hours, and include the following:
- Increased urination.
- Elevated or abnormal heart rate.
- Collapse and death.
Note: Older dogs and dogs with heart disease are more at risk of abrupt death from chocolate poisoning. Read also: “why is chocolate bad for dogs?”
What to Do If Your Dog Ate Chocolate?
If you believe your dog consumed chocolate, call your veterinarian right away and/or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for recommendations. Based upon your dog’s size and the amount and type of chocolate consumed, your vet may suggest that you just monitor him for the medical signs listed above and call back if his condition aggravates.
In other cases, the veterinarian might prefer you bring the dog into the clinic. If your family pet taken in the chocolate less than two hours back, your vet may induce vomiting and provide him numerous doses of activated charcoal, which works to move the toxic substances from the body without being absorbed into the blood stream. For more severe cases, veterinary intervention may be had to offer extra treatment, such as medications or IV fluids, to resolve the results of the poisoning. Dogs struggling with seizures may need to be kept an eye on at the center over night.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Chocolate
Even though percentages of milk chocolate may not cause an issue in bigger dogs, it’s still not recommended that family pet owners provide their dog chocolate as a treat. To prevent your dog from sneaking chocolate, follow these suggestions:
Put it away: Make sure all chocolate products, including cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix, are stored where the dog can not reach them, such as on a high rack in a closed-door kitchen. Advise your children and guests that chocolate need to be kept out of the dog’s reach and not left on counter tops, tables, or in handbags.
Teach “leave it”: The command “leave it” is extremely effective in avoiding dogs from eating something that falls onto the ground or is left within reach during a walk. It’s also a really simple command to teach.
Crate train your dog: The safest way to guarantee your dog does not eat anything damaging while you’re not supervising him is to crate train him. Discover a tough crate that is large enough for your dog to stand and reverse and make it a comfortable, safe place for him to retreat to when he wishes to be alone or when you can’t enjoy him. Offer toys, a packed Kong, a preferred blanket, and deals with to help him feel like the cage is his personal den.