Chocolate is a delicious treat for humans, but it can be extremely harmful to our canine companions. Unfortunately, there are certain ingredients found in chocolate that are toxic to dogs and can even be fatal if ingested. It is important to be aware of the potential dangers and keep chocolate away from dogs in order to avoid any tragic accidents.
The Dangers of Chocolate for Dogs
Chocolate can be a significant hazard to dogs due to the toxic ingredients, caffeine and theobromine. These chemicals are not easily metabolized by dogs, leading to an increase in cortisol levels in their bodies. This increased cortisol can cause hypertension, seizures, and even death. It is important to note that the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. This is because dark chocolate is less processed and thus has a higher proportion of cocoa solids, as well as a more bitter flavor. White chocolate should not be overlooked either as its high fat and sugar content can cause vomiting and stomach upset.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
The severity of the poisoning caused by chocolate will depend on the type and amount that is ingested. A dog experiencing poisoning may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- Tremors in the muscles and limbs
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning
It is possible that a dog may not show any signs of poisoning until six hours after ingestion of the chocolate. At this point, theobromine has already built up in the system. Early detection is key to increasing the chances of survival, so if you think or know your dog has eaten chocolate, call Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 and take your dog to the vet or animal hospital right away. Possible treatment methods may include administering heart medication to manage blood pressure and hypertension, antacid to ease stomach issues and diarrhea, activated charcoal to prevent further theobromine absorption, and IV fluids to keep your dog hydrated.