Dogs are incredibly curious creatures and are able to sniff out potentially tasty treats anywhere, even if those treats aren’t actually safe for dogs! Despite staying vigilant, sometimes your pooch can find and eat some chocolate before you have the chance to stop them. Rather than waste time wondering how they managed to get it or bickering about whose fault it is, you need to act fast to prevent any potential damage to their health.
Chocolate is highly toxic for dogs. When ingested, it can cause severe health issues and, in some cases, even death. It contains the chemical theobromine, which dogs can’t process as quickly as humans can, as well as caffeine, both of which dogs struggle to digest. Theobromine levels vary depending on the strength of the chocolate, with a general rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of theobromine. As such, the amount and type of chocolate consumed are key in determining the potential damage it may do.
If your dog has ingested any amount of chocolate, it’s best to seek professional medical advice from your veterinary clinic immediately. It’s important to take note of your dog’s weight, as well as the type and amount of chocolate they’ve eaten. This will help the vet know how much theobromine your pooch has consumed and what amount of medication they’ll need to counteract it. If seen within two hours of eating the chocolate, your vet will most likely induce vomiting and give your dog active charcoal orally to reduce the absorption rate of the theobromine. If it’s been longer than two hours, it’s too late to induce vomiting, and instead, your dog will have to be treated intravenously with fluids and antiarrhythmic medication.
Nutrition team at Harringtons, natural dog foods suggest keeping an eye out for these symptoms of chocolate poisoning, which will usually show in about six to twelve hours after consumption, however as we’ve said previously, it’s best not to wait for symptoms to appear and instead seek immediate medical help:
- A high heart rate
- A high temperature
- Drinking more than usual
Generally, if given medical treatment from a trained professional, dogs can make a full recovery, especially if seen before the chocolate has had time to be absorbed into their system. That’s why immediate action once you’ve realised they’ve eaten any amount of chocolate is so important, and extra caution is taken around keeping chocolate out of your dog’s reach. Accidents do happen, but there are steps like securing your bins and keeping chocolate stored high up which help reduce the risk of your dog finding it and tucking in!