Chocolate can be a guilty pleasure for many people, but when it comes to dogs it is all guilt and no pleasure. While dogs may be tempted to eat chocolate, it can cause an array of health issues for them. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers that chocolate can pose for dogs and to take steps to keep them safe.
The Dangers of Chocolate for Dogs
When it comes to chocolate, it is important to remember that the darker the chocolate the greater the threat. Products such as baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and gourmet dark chocolates contain more theobromine than milk chocolate, which is a chemical related to caffeine and can be toxic to dogs. White and milk chocolate contains very little theobromine, but the elevated levels of sugar and fat can cause mild symptoms. Humans can eat chocolate without any adverse effects as they can metabolize the chemicals quickly. However, dogs are unable to process theobromine and caffeine quickly, which can lead to a buildup of these chemicals in their system, resulting in poisoning.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested. Common symptoms include:
- Tremors in the muscles and limbs
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
In severe cases, chocolate poisoning can lead to death. If a dog is suspected of having ingested chocolate, it is important to contact a veterinarian immediately. Additionally, preventive measures should be taken to keep chocolate away from dogs and to ensure their safety.
Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning
If your dog is displaying abnormal behavior or any of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning, it is important to act immediately. Call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your vet for immediate medical help. If your dog is exhibiting severe clinical signs, take them to the nearest vet clinic right away. Your vet will examine your dog and determine the best course of action. This may include inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal to bind to toxin. Other treatments may include IV fluids to aid in excretion, sedatives to calm the dog, medications to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, anticonvulsants for seizures, antacids for stomach discomfort or diarrhea, and other supportive care. By taking quick action, you can help reduce the risk of serious health complications and ensure the safety of your dog.