If your dog has just eaten chocolate, it’s normal to feel panicked and concerned. Chocolate is dangerous for dogs and can lead to many unpleasant symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and even death. The compound, theobromine, found in chocolate is highly toxic to dogs in large doses. Knowing how to respond is essential to keeping your pet safe and healthy. To learn more about the harmful effects of chocolate on dogs and how to reduce the risks of serious health complications, continue reading below.

Dangers of Chocolate

There are several types of chocolate, each with its own level of toxicity. The most dangerous are baker’s and dark chocolate, as they contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs. Ingesting large quantities of these types of chocolate can be fatal. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are less dangerous, but can still cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain due to the high sugar and fat content. If your dog has ingested any amount of chocolate, it is essential that you contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® immediately.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning

Ingestion of small amounts of chocolate may cause stomach pains, mild vomiting, and diarrhea. Larger amounts may cause symptoms listed below:

  • Body tremors
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Agitation/restlessness
  • Increased heart rate

What To Do If Your Dog Ate Chocolate

Dogs are naturally curious and may be tempted to eat chocolate if they get the chance. If your dog has ingested chocolate and is showing signs of poisoning, it is essential that you seek immediate medical help. Contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the case, you may need to take your pet to the vet clinic or animal hospital. Decontamination may be necessary to reduce the amount of chocolate in the system and can include inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal. Other treatments, such as IV fluids, sedatives, heart medications, anticonvulsants, antacids, and diarrhea medications may also be necessary. Now that you know the risks of chocolate and how to respond if your dog eats it, you can keep your pet safe and healthy.