What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Chocolate

October 29, 2010  
Filed under Dog Health Tips

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!

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Comments

22 Responses to “What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Chocolate”
  1. Zolismom says:

    My 23 pnd schnauzer at my chocolate cupcake. I didn’t know she had until we got home and I picked up the little box that it was in. She was really neat and even closed the lid. I was scared something awful and watched her for hours. That cupcake had a ton of chocolate frosting on top. Nothing ever happened, nada, not one thing! I read that it was the caffine that is the problem. Maybe it was caffine free chocolate?

  2. Tyler says:

    My fourteen pound dachshund mix ate one of those giant limited-edition Hershey’s Kisses when my brother left it on the floor.
    Thankfully, my parents came home fairly soon after and took him to the vet, where he was given hydrogen peroxide and made to puke it all up.
    He was fine after that, he just had to eat special food that night that was easy for him to digest.

  3. SD says:

    Sounds like we’ve all had similar experiences with naughty dogs getting into food they shouldn’t. We had 2 llhasas who ripped open a 1.5 bag of Kisses and ate every piece! I did induce vomiting so they were fine…although our yard glistened with rainbow foil for several weeks! A few months later, they devoured 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies I had just baked for our visitors. I was so disgusted with those dogs that I just figured I’d let them feel miserable and sick. Know what? They were perfectly fine…and happy as could be. From that point on, we’d sneak them a chocolate treat on special occasions. They each lived to be 13 years old. I guess some are more sensitive to the chemicals that others.

  4. Hawkeye says:

    My 45 lb mixed breed ate 24 chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing paper and all when she was 4 or 5 years old. No ill effect seen and she is still alive today at age 15..

  5. Kooldog says:

    Thanks, I heard about this but didn’t know that it can be this serious…thanks god, nothing has happened to my dog… I guess I need to be extra carfull with Chocolates around house.

  6. Peter says:

    Great info, thanks for the post. Never knew what amount was dangerous to dogs.

  7. Kath says:

    How I wish I had known about chocolate being dangerous!!
    We gave our darling tenterfield terrier some choclate every
    time we had some, one day she became anxious & then had a seizure!
    We did not know it was from eating chocolate!! Vet did not ask either!
    Sooo we kept on giving it to her & one day she had a seizure & died!
    We often wondered why until one day we were chatting to another vet who
    asked if we gave her chocolate!! Soooo sad we lost a very much loved pet
    & in a way that caused! VERY DANGEROUS indeed!

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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