Dogs love chocolate, but is it safe for them to eat? Can dogs eat chocolate on their own, or do they need your help consuming the treat?
Sometimes owners aren’t sure whether it’s safe to feed chocolate to canines. If your dog eats too much of this sweet treat, he could get sick. You may also want to know how impossible it will be to give the pet medicine you have hidden in a piece of chocolate.
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans that come from cacao trees. Although it’s tasty for both people and pups alike, certain types of chocolate are poisonous to pets (for example, baker’s chocolate). The substance contained within the cocoa fruit has toxic effects on canines.
If your dog eats chocolate, you may want to know what type of symptoms occur and how long the side effects will last. What should you do if your pet eats a brownie? Read on to learn more about this canine health issue.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs: What Happens If Your Dog Eats Chocolate?
Cocoa contains caffeine and other substances called methylxanthines (theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline) that can be dangerous for pets to ingest. Depending on how much is consumed, dogs can experience vomiting or diarrhea within a few hours. Other signs include: high body temperature seizures increased heart rate low blood pressure restlessness or hyperactivity muscle tremors excessive panting
If your dog eats a small amount of chocolate, it may experience one or two symptoms. However, if the pet is fed a large quantity of chocolate – an entire 7 oz. bar – then vomiting and diarrhea can occur within 30 minutes to a few hours.
What type of chocolate poses a hazard for dogs?
The most dangerous kind is baking chocolate because it contains concentrated amounts of methylxanthines. Baker’s chocolate contains 38 percent cocoa butter and semisweet chocolate has 35 percent cocoa butter. Semi-sweet chocolate chips have even more caffeine than baker’s chocolate as well as another toxic component called theobromine, according to Veterinary Partner The darker the chocolate is, the higher volume of methylxanthines it will contain.
Although milk chocolate doesn’t contain as much caffeine, it’s still not safe for dogs to consume because it contains sugar and fat. A large quantity of chocolate can cause the same symptoms as ingesting too much caffeine, but if enough milk chocolate is consumed, your pet may also experience vomiting or diarrhea.
What happens if I cannot catch my dog in time?
Your dog should be treated at a veterinary clinic after he eats chocolate. If you witness your canine companion eating the sweet treat, call your veterinarian immediately so that she can provide treatment before symptoms set in. He will most likely receive intravenous (IV) fluids containing drugs like apomorphine. This type of fluid helps prevent dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, according to Veterinary Partner.
Your dog may also receive activated charcoal to absorb some of the toxins and prevent them from being absorbed into his system even more. He may be given medication to control tremors and high blood pressure as well as other symptom-causing problems.
How long do the effects last?
You should call your vet as soon as possible if your dog eats chocolate or you suspect that he has done so because it can cause life-threatening issues such as seizures within 24 hours. Some signs, like nervousness and excessive panting, usually die down within 12 hours. However, you should have a pet professional examine him just in case – especially if he consumed a large amount of chocolate.
If your pup only ate a little piece of chocolate, he may be asymptomatic within 12-24 hours as long as you don’t feed him any more of the substance. If he consumed a large quantity and experiences severe symptoms though, those will last for about 48 hours or so before they gradually decrease in severity.
What if I cannot afford veterinary care?
If your dog doesn’t eat chocolate but still displays some type of poisoning symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, you can take measures into your own hands to make him feel better at home.
A baking soda paste can help with nausea and stomach upset. You can also offer small amounts of water every 15 minutes until the dog is rehydrated, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center Additionally, soaking his food with copious amounts of water may dilute the concentration of toxins in his system and make it easier for him to digest.
What if my dog is having seizures related to chocolate ingestion?
If your pooch experiences seizures, call your veterinarian immediately or take him to an emergency clinic. If he doesn’t receive treatment quickly enough, the pet could lose consciousness and enter into a comatose state.
He will probably be given anti-seizure medications like diazepam or something similar so that he can stop seizing. Once his body has completely calmed down, he’ll likely receive fluids containing apomorphine again as well as other medications prescribed by his doctor on a case-by-case basis.
After treatment, your pup needs additional supportive care until the effects of the toxin wear off. He may be kept overnight for observation to monitor changes in his condition or prevent another seizure episode.
What else can I do?
If your dog ate chocolate, you should contact poison control immediately. They will ask you a series of questions to determine your pet’s exact symptoms and treatment needs. Your vet may also recommend that you visit an animal hospital if he/she finds that the problem is more severe than initially thought.
Additionally, reduce your canine companion’s risk of poisoning by securing all food items so nothing falls on the floor where Fido can find it. Keep human foods like dinner leftovers firmly out of his reach at all times as well as cocoa powder, which contains caffeine, according to PetMD. Teach your pet to “leave it” if he snatches any chocolate or food item up in his mouth.
If you have a cat, do not leave it alone with a dog for too long and never put both animals together while they’re unsupervised. This is because even though dogs love the taste of chocolate, some felines may be attracted to its smell, according to Vet Street. Therefore, they might try to eat the substance as well – which could lead to an emergency for both pets.