Why is chocolate bad for pets?

What to do if your pet eats chocolate

Why is chocolate bad for pets?  

Dog eating chocolate

It’s a well-known fact that chocolate isn’t good for dogs. This is because chocolate contains caffeine and the chemical compound ‘theobromine’, both of which are toxic to dogs; because dogs’ digestive systems can’t break these chemicals down in the same way as humans can. The chemicals build up and can cause organ disease and failure if not treated properly.

What symptoms will I see?

Symptoms will occur from four to 24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate and they will vary depending on the amount of chocolate your dog has eaten.

Theobromine mainly affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys and is a toxin that can be linked to hyperactivity. Affected pets can have:

  • tremors
  • seizure
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • ingestion can be fatal

If your pet eats chocolate, take them to your vet immediately.

Other symptoms include

  • rapid breathing
  • muscle tension
  • coordination loss
  • increased heart rate
  • blood in vomit

How much chocolate is too much?

Ideally, you should never give any chocolate to your dog, though sometimes dogs can obtain chocolate without your knowledge. Some chocolates contain more theobromine than others depending on the manufacture and colour. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate and the more theobromine. Here’s a pretty good guide to which chocolate types contain the most theobromine in order of most to least:

  • baking chocolate (worst)
  • dark chocolate
  • milk chocolate
  • white chocolate (least)

What to do if your pet eats chocolate

Take them to your vet immediately. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for theobromine poisoning. In most cases, your vet will induce your dog to vomit. If there has been a delay in getting to your vet he or she may wash out your dog’s stomach followed by feeding Fido with activated charcoal, which will absorb any theobromine left in your dog’s intestines.

Other treatments will depend on the signs and symptoms your dog is showing. They may need intravenous fluids (a drip), or medication to control heart rate, blood pressure, and seizure activity.

There is also the possibility that it might not just be theobromine that’s causing issues. ‘There are a bunch of other ingredients in chocolate your dog could be reacting to, and these could affect allergies or genetic differences. However, with prompt intervention and treatment, even in dogs who have eaten large amounts of chocolate, the prognosis for a poisoned dog is usually pretty good.

If you are concerned that your pet may have consumed chocolate, contact your nearest Vet for immediate treatment.

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