As a pet owner have you ever wondered “what happens when my dog eats chocolate?” We understand that you may want to reward your dog with a delicious treat, however, avoid chocolate as it can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is toxic to dogs in high doses. Theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and even death in dogs. Learn about the dangerous combination of dogs and chocolate by reading more below.
Dogs and Chocolate
There are several types of chocolate, and each type has a different level of toxicity. The most dangerous types of chocolate are baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate. They both contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs as they cannot metabolize it well. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and even death. Consuming baker’s or dark chocolate can be fatal to dogs if ingested in large quantities. Other types of chocolate, such as milk chocolate and white chocolate, are not as dangerous but can still cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If your dog ingests any amount of chocolate, it is important to contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® straight away.
Clinical Signs of Chocolate Poisoning
Ingestion of small amounts of chocolate may cause stomach pains, mild vomiting, and diarrhea. Larger amounts may cause symptoms listed below:
- Tremors in the muscles and limbs
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
Dogs are naturally curious and will not turn away from chocolate if they get their paws on it. If your dog got into some chocolate and is showing clinical signs of poisoning monitor them closely and call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian for immediate medical help. You may need to take your dog to the vet clinic or animal hospital if symptoms worsen or you are instructed to do so. Decontamination may reduce chocolate in the system by inducing vomiting and giving activated charcoal. Other therapies may include IV fluids to help with excretion, sedatives to calm the dog, specific heart medications to reduce the heart rate and blood pressure, anticonvulsants for seizures, antacids for stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Now you should know what can happen when your dog eats chocolate and how you should respond to keep your dog safe and healthy.