As a pet owner, it can be overwhelming when your pup gets into things that they know they shouldn’t. That especially goes for foods that are dangerous to them, such as dark chocolate. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your pet safe and healthy. If your dog gets into chocolate, do you know what to do to ensure their safety? Read below to discover why dark chocolate is toxic to dogs and what steps to take if your dog eats it.
What Makes Chocolate Toxic?
Chocolate contains two active ingredients, theobromine and caffeine, that are toxic to dogs. Darker chocolates such as baker’s, semi-sweet, dark, and cocoa powder contain higher levels of theobromine and caffeine compared to milk chocolate. Severe symptoms can occur if dogs ingest these types of chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain high levels of fat and sugar, resulting in stomach upset and vomiting. Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine as effectively as humans, so the chemical builds up in their system which results in poisoning.
Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms
If a dog eats chocolate, they may experience adverse effects. Possible clinical signs of poisoning include:
- Body tremors
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
If your dog has eaten dark chocolate, you must act quickly. Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for immediate medical attention. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of poisoning, take them to the nearest animal hospital or clinic immediately. Your veterinarian will evaluate your dog and administer appropriate treatment. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to bind the toxins. Your dog may also receive IV fluids to aid with excretion, medications to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and medications for stomach upset or diarrhea. If needed your dog may require sedatives and anticonvulsants for seizures. Do not delay treatment, as this could greatly reduce the chances of a full recovery.