Yes, it is true. If your dog eats chocolate they can become sick and could even die. Chocolate toxicity in dogs is surprisingly common. Poisoning in dogs tends to spike during the holidays because of all the goodies around. So, what should you do and look out for if your dog eats chocolate? Here’s what you need to know: 

Does The Amount of Chocolate Matter? 

Yes, the amount of chocolate your dog eats will affect how deadly the symptoms can be. If your dog has a nibble of a piece of chocolate, they may have some discomfort and a stomachache due to the elevated levels of sugar, but typically, they should be fine. On the other hand, if your dog consumes an entire bag of dark chocolate bars, they could be headed for some troubled waters. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to dogs. Dark chocolate contains higher levels of theobromine and caffeine, which are poisonous ingredients to dogs.  

How Does Theobromine Aid in Chocolate Poisoning? 

In humans, theobromine can be metabolized in 6-8 hours, whereas dogs take an average of 17-18 hours. This allows for it to build up in their system and cause health complications. Theobromine dilates blood vessels and stimulates the heart when digested for an extended period.  

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs 

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include tremors in the muscles and limbs, seizures, irregular heartbeats, agitation/restlessness, and increased heart rate. If your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate, you should immediately call Pet Poison Helpline® and take them to the vet clinic. If you wait too long the health issues may worsen and can lead to fatal consequences.  

What Are the Possible Treatments for Chocolate Poisoning? 

The kind of treatment depends on how much and the type of chocolate was consumed and how long ago it was ingested. Early decontamination procedures like inducing vomiting and giving activated charcoal can help prevent theobromine absorption into the body. Theobromine resorption and recirculation can be reduced with repeated treatments with activated charcoal. 

IV fluids can stabilize dogs and help them eliminate theobromine from their system. Dogs fed potentially lethal amounts of chocolate should be closely monitored for signs of irregular moods or gastrointestinal distress. Medications may be necessary to treat symptoms such as restlessness and irritability. 

Who To Call If Your Dog Ate Some Chocolate 

Even if your dog accidentally ate a small piece of chocolate, you should call the Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian. Seeking medical advice will help your dog and may reduce the risk of worsening conditions. You should take your dog to the clinic as soon as possible.