It’s not uncommon for dogs to eat anything they find nearby, but what happens when they eat something they aren’t allowed to and can cause health problems, like chocolate?
To find out how this food affects pets, are there any symptoms, and how to prevent it, keep on reading.
Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate?
Chocolate is one of the favorite snacks for most people, but for many animals, and especially pets, is very toxic because of the chemicals it contains.
Theobromine Is Toxic
Chocolate is most known for toxicity because it contains a chemical call theobromine. It works as a diuretic, which can cause dehydration and lead to additional problems with your dog.
Concentrations of theobromine depending on the type of chocolate:
- White chocolate – 1mg/ounce
- Milk chocolate – 60mg/ounce
- Semi-sweet chocolate – 260mg/ounce
- Dark chocolate – 300mg/ounce
- Baking chocolate – 450mg/ounce
- Cocoa shell yard mulch – 300-1200mg/ounce
Bitter chocolate contains more theobromine, which will definitely cause different symptoms depending on the size of your dog.
That doesn’t mean that white chocolate, which contains the least amount of theobromine, is a good choice.
Dogs can’t metabolize theobromine, so we don’t recommend giving them any type of chocolate, no matter if it’s less bitter or not.
Caffeine Is Not For Dogs
As well as theobromine, dogs can’t metabolize caffeine which can cause health problems. All types of chocolate contain caffeine, some more than others.
Dog Reaction To Chocolate
The signs mostly depend on the size of the dog and how much chocolate he eats. It is very important to notice if your dog is acting differently.
What are The Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning?
The most common signs that dogs ate chocolate are:
- increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Abnormal heart rate
- Collapse and death
Vomiting And Diarrhea
In most cases, vomiting and diarrhea are the first signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs. If he ate a small amount of chocolate, usually they will have vomit or diarrhea a few times and feel better.
Excessive Thirst And Urination
If you notice that your dog is extremely thirsty, this is also a sign of poising. Both theobromine and caffeine are diuretics, which will have an impact on urination, as well.
Restlessness Or Hyperactivity
If you notice that your dog is shaking or panting after eating chocolate, it can be a sign of a higher heart rate that is caused by caffeine. Darker chocolate has higher caffeine which can lead to cardiac arrest.
If the dog ate a large quantity of chocolate, seizures are one of the most severe symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Sometimes seizures can be fatal.
What If Dog Ate Chocolate And Has No Symptoms?
Maybe your dog won’t have early symptoms, but that doesn’t mean he was not poisoned by the chocolate. You need to quickly react to prevent any health problems.
Quick Response When Dog Got Poisoned By Chocolate
Signs of poison from chocolate usually appear within 6 to 12 hours, but also may last up to 72 hours. If you’re concerned about some symptoms, it is more likely that your dog will recover faster and better.
The sooner you respond to your dog’s concerning symptoms, the more likely it will be that your dog can recover completely from the situation. If your dog ate chocolate and has no symptoms, he will
- Check how much chocolate dog ate
- Do not wait for signs to develop, react immediately
- Keep dog hydrated
- Check if the dog is warm
- Contact the emergency vet for more information about the procedure
- If your vet advises you to take him to the emergency ambulance, take him immediately
- Older dogs and those with heart conditions need to be taken to an ambulance vet
Treating Chocolate Toxicity In Dogs
Which treatment your dog will get, depending on the age, health issues, the amount, and the type of chocolate he ate. Mostly they will get medication to make them vomit the toxic food.
Also, most common are treatment with activated charcoal which prevents absorption and reduce the number of toxins.
Other medications can be given to dogs with a heart condition, especially when they are old and have fast or abnormal heart rates.
How To Prevent Dogs From Poisoning?
We know how dogs respond when they smell something tasty, but to prevent any chocolate toxicity, there are some tips you need to follow:
Storage Area – Keep your chocolate, cookies, or other sweets in a safe area that your dog can’t reach or get into. Drawers and cabinets need to be secured if you’re afraid that the dog can easily open them.
Train Your Pet – Training your pet with commands can prevent any dangerous situations, especially if you saw that the dog grabbed food from the counter.
Friend And Family Education – Not everyone in your family or from your friends or family has a pet and knows how to behave around a dog, so it is important to educate them to not leave any food around them, especially kids.
To Sum Up
Because of the theobromine and caffeine, chocolate is very poisonous to dogs and they can’t metabolize it. There are many common symptoms that will show in a few hours, and it is important to have a quick response. If you notice your dog ate chocolate, you should call your vet or go to the closest veterinary ambulance to prevent any health troubles and complications.