Chocolate Poisoning and Dogs

Chocolate is no friend to your dog! No matter how much they beg, giving chocolate to your canine is very unhealthy for them. To be extra safe you should always keep your chocolate treats hidden and out of reach of your mischievous dog.

Why do dogs get sick from chocolate?

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are poisonous to dogs. The effects are worsened by how quickly dogs eat, especially puppies! Meaning they can have finished an entire cake before they even start feeling sick. The poison causes a rapid and weak heart beat, constricted blood vessels, and stimulates the nervous system.

The most dangerous types of chocolate to dogs is dark and cooking chocolate, but semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate and hot chocolate are also poisonous to some degree. Basically the higher percentage of cocoa the worse off the dog.

How do I know if my dog has chocolate poisoning?

The first signs will be vomiting and diarrhoea, which occur 2 to 4 hours after the chocolate is ingested. Sometimes there will be chocolate in the vomit, which is a clear indication of poisoning.

Additional symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity, tremors and seizures
  • Increasingly rapid and irregular heart rate
  • Excessive urination (from diuretic effect of chocolate)

Advanced signs:

  • Stiffness
  • Excitement
  • Seizures
  • Extreme response to noise, light, and touch

Heart failures, weakness, coma, and death can occur 12 to 36 hours after ingestion.

Could it be some other poison?

The symptoms of chocolate poisoning are very similar to other poisons, such as strychnine, snail bait poison, compost or algae ingestion. So if your dog starts showing the early indicators of poisoning then you should take them to the vet immediately. The veterinarian will be able to perform a proper diagnosis. If possible bring some of the vomit to the clinic, as this will help the vet find out exactly what was ingested.

How do I treat chocolate poisoning?

If you know that your dog has consumed chocolate, ring your vet immediately for advice. Ifyour dog is already showing symptoms of poisoning you should take them to the clinic straight away.

There is no antidote to chocolate poisoning so the vet will try different methods to remove the chocolate from your dogs system. They might use drugs to induce vomiting, or thread a tube into the stomach to clear it with liquids. If the symptoms are advanced enough then the vet may need to use specific medication to prevent heart failure.

How long until my dog is healthy again?

Usually it takes between 12 and 36 hours for your dog to return to normal. The timeframe is much shorter if you managed to have the chocolate removed within 2 to 4 hours of it been eaten.

The best cure is prevention. So keep the chocolate treats way from your dog!

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