It wouldn’t be very far-fetched if we said chocolate is a universal delight. This treat comes in so many different forms and mixes that the options are endless. Chocolate varies in degrees of sweetness, and you can find it in candy, pastries, food flavoring, and toppings of ice cream, just to name a few. Although this snack is very common and has benefits for humans, it could be a death sentence if your dog ate some chocolate.
How Deadly Is Chocolate to Dogs?
The biggest threat of chocolate to dogs is its high concentration of theobromine. Theobromine is a chemical compound similar to caffeine, which is also found in chocolate, and they work to stimulate the brain and nervous system. However, dogs do not easily metabolize theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals are poisonous because of their ability to rapidly increase cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body. This gives rise to a build-up of stress chemicals that can lead to hypertension, convulsions, and possibly death.
It is important to note that the darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of theobromine. This is because darker chocolate is less processed and has a higher ratio of cocoa solids, which is also why darker chocolate tastes less sweetened.
Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning
The type of chocolate and the quantity consumed will determine how poisonous it can be to your dog. Generally, you will notice some, if not all, of the following signs:
- Tremors in the muscles and limbs
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
Treatment For Chocolate Poisoning
A dog poisoned by chocolate may not show symptoms until six hours after initial consumption. At this point, theobromine has already accumulated in the bloodstream. Early identification may be key to your dog’s survival, so if you suspect or can confirm that your dog ate some chocolate, call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and get your pet to a vet clinic or animal hospital immediately. Knowing the amount and type of chocolate may be helpful to your vet for determining treatment for your pup.
Treatment options recommended and administered by your veterinarian may include:
- Heart medication to improve blood pressure and hypertension.
- Antacid to assuage stomach discomfort and diarrhea.
- Activated charcoal to stop more absorption.
- IV fluids to keep your dog hydrated.