Chocolate is one of the most toxic human foods for dogs, and even a little bit can be lethal.
If your dog ever eats some of this food, it is important that you know how to respond. This information could help save your dog’s life one day.
The Dangers of Chocolate for Dogs
Chocolate poses a great danger to your dog due to a chemical called theobromine. This ingredient is very toxic to dogs and a number of other animals. It can have a hugely negative effect on your dog’s respiratory, cardiac and nervous system.
There is also the potential for total kidney failure in some cases. The fact is that there is no amount of chocolate that is safe for dogs to ingest.
Dark chocolate poses the most threat to dogs, as it tends to contain more theobromine than milk chocolate. It is important to keep this information in mind when you are trying to decide what to do after your dog eats this food.
What to Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate
There are some specific steps that you’ll want to follow when your dog eats any amount of chocolate.
1. Check Your Dog’s Mouth
You should immediately look inside your dog’s mouth and remove any pieces of chocolate that might still be in there. This can help to mitigate the negative health effects of this food on your dog.
2. Figure Out How Much They Ate
It is also important that you determine how much chocolate your dog ingested, if at all possible. Remember to stay calm and collected, as it will make doing this much easier.
Technically speaking, your dog is at risk of serious health consequences when it consumes 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight or more. If you think that your dog ingested at least this amount, you should get them to the vet right away. It takes even less dark chocolate to cause a severe reaction in dogs.
3. Monitor Your Dog’s Condition
If you aren’t sure exactly how much chocolate your dog ate, you’ll still want to keep a close eye on them for the next 24 hours. There are a number of things that you’ll want to look for during this period of time.
Some of the more common signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs include:
- Increased urination
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
If you notice any of these symptoms with your dog after it has eaten chocolate, you’ll need to get it medical attention right away. Keep in mind that senior dogs are more likely to succumb to chocolate poisoning.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually start presenting within an hour after ingestion. It could take a bit longer if you have a very large dog with a slow metabolism.
If you have an older dog that ate even a little chocolate, you should rush them to an emergency vet clinic. There is simply no point in taking any chances with your pet’s health and wellbeing.
4. Call Your Vet
You should call your veterinarian up immediately if your dog has eaten any amount of chocolate. They will be able to recommend whether or not to induce vomiting. If it has only been a few minutes since your dog ate the chocolate, they will likely tell you to do this.
They might also recommend that you bring them in to get looked at even after inducing vomiting. It all depends on the circumstances of the situation. You can induce vomiting with some hydrogen peroxide. This is a safe and effective method that usually works very well.
What to Expect at the Vet
When you take your dog to the vet for chocolate poisoning, they may want to give them fluids through an IV. They may also want to pump their stomach just to be safe. While this will not be a pleasant experience for your dog, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Sometimes a vet will administer activated charcoal, which absorbs toxins inside the dog’s stomach.
How to Prevent Chocolate Poisoning
You will need to keep a few things in mind when it comes to preventing your dog from getting into your chocolate. These tips can help keep your dog healthy and even save its life.
1. Keep Your Chocolate in Cupboards
It is important that you keep any chocolate you bring home in cupboards or in an area that your dog cannot get to. It’s always best to keep it hidden away where your dog cannot even see it. You might be surprised what a motivated and hungry dog can achieve when chocolate is just lying out somewhere.
2. Train Your Dog
You can also try training your dog to not eat chocolate, which can be a fairly difficult task. The fact is that certain types of dogs are more trainable than others.
3. Crate Them While You are Gone
As much you may not want to lock your dog up in a crate when you are gone, it is something to consider. This is especially important if you have a big dog that tends to get into trouble a lot.
- The theobromine in chocolate is ultimately what makes it toxic to dogs.
- Any amount of chocolate can cause serious health problems for your dog if they ingest it.
- The first thing you should do is to check your dog’s mouth and remove any chocolate that might be still in it.
- Try to figure out approximately how much chocolate your dog ate and what type.
- Darker chocolate is always the most toxic to dogs.
- Keep a close eye on your dog for the next few hours.
- Call your vet and ask them if it is a good idea to induce vomiting with some hydrogen peroxide.
- If you notice any symptoms of chocolate poisoning in your dog, you’ll want to get them to the vet right away.
- Make sure that you keep any chocolate where your dog cannot get to it.