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If you’re like most dog owners, you probably have a stash of chocolate hidden somewhere in your house. And if your dog eats it, you may be wondering what to do.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can cause serious health problems, so it’s important to know the symptoms and how to treat them. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Why Are Chocolates Bad For Dogs?
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Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate are the most dangerous types of chocolate for dogs. They contain higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate and white chocolate. Just one ounce of baker’s chocolate or three ounces of dark chocolate can be toxic to a small dog.
The amount of chocolate that is toxic to a dog depends on the type of chocolate, the size of the dog, and the dog’s weight. For milk chocolate, as little as 0.17 ounces per pound of body weight can be toxic to dogs. That means just one ounce of milk chocolate could be poisonous to a five-pound dog. For dark chocolate, as little as 0.03 ounces per pound of body weight can be toxic. So, just three ounces of dark chocolate could be deadly for a small ten-pound dog.
Chocolate is bad for dogs because it contains a toxic substance called theobromine. Theobromine is similar to caffeine and can be harmful to your dog in large quantities. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, increased heart rate, and even seizures. In severe cases, chocolate ingestion can be fatal.
Different Home Remedies If Your Dog Ate Chocolate
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If your dog ate chocolate, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian.
The next thing you’ll want to do is figure out how much chocolate your dog ate and what type of chocolate it was. The amount of theobromine and caffeine in chocolate varies by type. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. For example, baking chocolate contains about eight times as much theobromine as milk chocolate.
Once you have that information, you can begin to treat your dog at home.
If your dog ate a small amount of chocolate and is otherwise healthy, home treatment may be all that’s needed.
- Give your dog plenty of water to drink. This will help flush the toxins out of his system.
- Feed your dog a small meal. Eating will help speed up the metabolism and get rid of the toxins faster.
- Exercise your dog. This will also help speed up the metabolism. But don’t overdo it. A long walk is fine, but running or playing fetch might be too much activity.
- Monitor your dog’s stool. If it’s loose or bloody, call your vet.
- Monitor your dog for signs of chocolate poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, or an irregular heartbeat. If you see any of these signs, call your vet or the animal poison control center immediately.
- If your dog ate a large amount of chocolate or is showing any signs of chocolate poisoning, he’ll need to be seen by a vet. He may need to be hospitalized for treatment.
Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
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If your dog has chocolate poisoning, treatment will be based on how much chocolate he ate and how sick he is.
- Mild cases may be treated with activated charcoal, which helps absorb the toxins in the gut so they can’t be absorbed into the bloodstream. Your dog may need to stay overnight for observation, but he should be able to go home the next day.
- Moderate cases may require IV fluids and other supportive care, such as a blood transfusion if necessary. Your dog may need to stay in the hospital for several days.
- Severe cases may require intensive care, including mechanical ventilation and heart monitoring. These dogs often need to be hospitalized for weeks.
Prevention for Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
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Chocolate poisoning in dogs is best avoided by keeping chocolate out of reach. Keep it in a cupboard or drawer out of reach of your dog. Also, don’t leave chocolate laying around for your dog to discover.
If you have visitors who are consuming chocolate, make sure none of it falls into your dog’s grasp.
If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, call your vet or the animal poison control center right away. The sooner treatment is started, the better the chances for a full recovery.
If your dog has eaten chocolate, don’t panic. There are a few things you can do to help them feel better. Give them plenty of water to drink, and if they’re vomiting, withhold food for a few hours. If they’re having trouble breathing, call your vet immediately.
Most importantly, don’t give your dog any more chocolate! Even a small amount can be dangerous, so it’s best to keep it out of their reach entirely. With proper care and quick action, your dog will be back to its normal self in no time.
I’m Nathan Koster, an experienced dog nutritionist and blogger. As the owner of Dog efficientdog.com, I strive to provide accurate, up-to-date information on canine health and nutrition so that pet owners can make the best decisions for their beloved pups. With years of research and a passion for helping others, I’m committed to creating a helpful resource for pet owners. Thank you for visiting my blog!