What should I do if my dog eats chocolate this Festive Period?
7th December 2017
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At this time of year with rich food and especially chocolate common place in most homes there is the chance of one’s dog picking up a bar of chocolate and eating it.

There is also that probability that unwittingly people may offer their beloved pet a chocolate treat, sadly this is a good example of killing them with kindness.

Chocolate for human consumption contains a chemical, like caffeine, called theobromine, that is potentially lethal to dogs. Theobromine mainly affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms will occur from 4-24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate and will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (theobromine) your dog has eaten. 

Clearly the quantity of chocolate consumed is significant, however, the following signs will help to identify the risk. The type of chocolate is also a factor with some chocolate containing much larger amounts of theobromine, some chocolates will contain nuts and other items that may exacerbate the problem.                                                

If your dog has eaten chocolate, you may see:                  

  • Vomiting (may include blood)            
  • Diarrhea                                     
  • Restlessness and hyperactivity                
  • Rapid breathing                                            
  • Muscle tension, incoordination                
  • Increased heart rate                           
  • Seizures

What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?                    

Contact your vet quickly and ask for advice.

Professional treatment may be needed if your dog has eaten any chocolate, so please do not waste time, act now! 

Regans Veterinary Group can assist your vet if you can tell them how much chocolate your dog has eaten, what type of chocolate it was (wrappers can be very helpful) and when your dog ate the chocolate.  This will enable them to work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic dose or not and what treatment your dog is likely to need. 

There is no antidote to theobromine. In most cases your vet will make your dog vomit.  They may wash out the stomach and feed activated charcoal which will absorb any theobromine left in the intestine. Other treatments will depend on the signs your dog is showing.  They may need intravenous fluids (a drip), medication to control heart rate, blood pressure and seizure activity.

With prompt professional intervention and treatment even in dogs that have eaten large amounts of chocolate the prognosis for a poisoned dog is usually good.

Safety first.

Keep chocolate out of the reach of the family dog. Ensure that the family and visitors do not ‘slip’ the dog any chocolate; Grandma, the children etc.

If dog owning people wish to treat their dog, pop into the local pet shop and have a chat with the owner about safe treats for dogs and have a bag of them handy to pass around to anyone wanting to reward the good dog for its friendly welcome.

A lot of people love their faithful companions and would not be without them, all the more reason to treat them with forethought and love. A bit of ‘TLC’ goes long way toward keeping them well, and rather than kill them with kindness, keep them fit and well by treating them with true kindness. Enjoy.

If you would like any more help or advice, give Regans Veterinary Group a call on 01204 397970

About the Author

Faz P

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi I am Faz and am passionate about all things Bolton. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and find them to be interesting and thought provoking. I would love you to add your personal comments to them. Dont...

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