What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Chocolate
There is currently a myth circulating among dog owners that chocolate is not actually toxic to dogs. In actuality, it is a proven scientific fact that YES, chocolate is poisonous to dogs, sometimes even inducing a fatal reaction. Under no circumstances should you allow your dog to ingest chocolate, or any substance that contains chocolate. This is a very serious mistake, and can result in chocolate toxicity in your dog. Here is some general information that will allow you to understand why chocolate is toxic for dogs, the symptoms of chocolate toxicity, and what to do if your dog ingests chocolate.
WHY IS CHOCOLATE BAD FOR DOGS?
The toxic substances in chocolate that affect dogs are methylxanthine alkaloids. These alkaloids are in the form of caffeine and theobromine, which can cause many serious health effects in dogs. Certain types of chocolate have higher levels of these substances, which can affect how severe your dog’s symptoms are after ingestion. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthine alkaloids, while baking and dark chocolate have the highest level of these substances. In a 16 pound dog, the toxic dose of chocolate can be as little as one pound of milk chocolate. The effect in dogs is that the methylxanthine alkaloids stimulate the central nervous system, which in effect increases the heart rate of your dog. This is what causes the many symptoms that result from chocolate toxicity in dogs.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CHOCOLATE TOXICITY?
There are several key symptoms that can help you to recognize if your dog is currently experiencing a chocolate toxicity reaction. The most common symptoms are restlessness, increased urination, rapid heart rate, moderate to severe anxiety, seizures, asthmatic attacks, bloating, gastrointestinal distress, severe thirst and increased body temperature. If you notice that your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to bring them to the veterinarian immediately. Symptoms usually manifest from six to twelve hours after ingestion of chocolate. Even if your dog does not display any symptoms after ingesting chocolate, it is still strongly advised that you bring them to the veterinarian.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG CONSUMES CHOCOLATE?
The best thing that you can do for your dog in the event of chocolate toxicity is to induce vomiting. However, prior to inducing vomiting, it is highly recommended that you contact your veterinarian. Most veterinary professionals will be able to advise you about what immediate action you should take, depending on the type and severity of your dog’s symptoms. If your veterinarian recommends that you immediately induce vomiting, they will usually advise you to accomplish this by administering a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly into your dog’s mouth. If you have any reservations about doing this on your own, it is always highly recommended that you follow the instructions of your veterinarian. After bringing your dog in for direct veterinary care, treatment will usually involve the administration of activated charcoal in your dog’s stomach in order to absorb any remaining toxins. This treatment is usually very effective, and can prevent your dog from suffering serious complications that may result from chocolate toxicity.
Has your dog ever ingested chocolate? Please share your story and post a comment below!