What to do if your dog eats – chocolate!

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In this month’s article, we will delve into spreading awareness of the common situation that occurs with most dog owners. This situation entails the moment your dog engulfs that sweet chocolate bar you were saving for yourself as a snack later.

Do not panic! Remain calm. We are here to share some facts and knowledge on how to deal with this issue properly and in an effective manner. Before we dive further into the details of how to address this problem, let’s focus on the facts that cause chocolate to be our dogs’ enemy.

Chocolate contains a chemical component, known as theobromine. This chemical is considered to be highly toxic to our furry companions. Comparatively, humans are easily able to process this chemical in our bodies. For dogs, this chemical can affect either the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, or central nervous system. Since there are different types of chocolate available, there are different concentrations of theobromine present. The four most dangerous types of chocolate that are extremely toxic to dogs are cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. Comparatively, white chocolate contains less amounts of theobromine and is not as toxic as the others. In this case, it is estimated that approximately two to three standard chocolate bars are an extremely lethal dose for a small sized dog. In the United States, it is reported that an average of 76 cases involving chocolate poisoning are brought to a veterinarian’s attention each day.

In the case that your dog has ingested chocolate, there is no cure, but your veterinarian will have other tools to help facilitate the situation.

If your dog ingests chocolate, common signs you may see are vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, tremors, seizures, increased urination, high or abnormal heart rate, collapse or even death. Dogs can show these signs up to 6 – 12 hours after consuming chocolate. If you feel your dog is displaying any of the forementioned signs, then please consider it a medical emergency and seek care from your local veterinarian immediately.

In the case that your dog has ingested chocolate, there is no cure, but your veterinarian will have other tools to help facilitate the situation. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting to help remove the chocolate from the body, via activated charcoal. Your veterinarian can also choose to give the dog IV fluids to help stabilize the excretion of theobromine from the dog’s body.

Please be aware that there is a 24/7 available Pet Poison Helpline, where you can call anytime at 855-764-7661, in case you are not able to reach your local veterinarian.

 Dr. Sifti Bhullar

 

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