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Will Chocolate Kill My Dog? Help!
Chances are if you are searching for this topic, you want a simple answer, will eating chocolate kill my dog? Will it make my dog sick? Help! The simple answer is yes, chocolate is not good for dogs and can indeed kill them. But, the situation may not be as dire as you fear or more dire than you think.
Listen, before I start, do not take this advice or any advice from the Internet over that of your veterinarian. If you are concerned, contact a vet immediately.
You’ve just returned home and found that your dog has eaten a candy bar or that chocolate easter bunny that it’s managed to snag off the counter. You’ve heard all your life that chocolate can kill a dog. And, yes that is correct, it can, but there are a few factors involved that will determine if it does.
Chocolate is toxic because it contains a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Like caffeine, theobromine is a cardiac stimulant. It’s the alkaloid in cocoa that gives it its bitter taste.
Theobromine primarily affects the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system, as well as having a diuretic effect, meaning it increases the passing of urine.
Unlike humans, dogs, and cats, can’t absorb and excrete this chemical quickly. The half life of theobromine in dogs is about 18 hours, where it is generally out of our systems in 2-3 hours.
The amount of this toxin in chocolate varies and generally the darker the chocolate the more it contains. The milk chocolate found in many candy bars contains relatively little, while dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain significantly more. Also, most candy bars have a lot of other ingredients decreasing the amount of the toxic theobromine.
Obviously, your dog’s weight is a major factor in how much of this chemical your dog can survive. A much smaller amount can be fatal to a 5 pound Chihuahua than a 100 pound Rottweiler.
There’s a convenient “Chocolate Toxicity Calculator” that can help you in deciding to take your dog to the vet. It asks you for the dog’s weight, how much and what kind of chocolate it ate and a few other things to help you make an informed decision.
What are the symptoms in Chocolate Poisoning in dogs?
The first signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, vomiting of blood, and polydipsia, which is an intense desire to drink water. If you observe any of these signs, get your dog to a vet immediately. Other symptoms may include hyperexcitability, hyperirritability, tachycardia (which is rapid heartbeat), excessive panting, ataxia (loss of balance and coordination), and muscle twitching.
Effects may progress to cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and death.
Most symptoms will begin to appear within two hours of ingestion, but, as theobromine is metabolised slowly in dogs, it can take as long as 24 hours for them to appear and up to three days for a recovery. It is absolutely imperative that you do not allow your dog to consume any more chocolate within these three days.
Although there is no specific antidote for theobromine, supportive management includes induction of vomiting and administration of activated charcoal, oxygen, and intravenous fluids. The sooner you get your dog to the vet, the higher the chances of these measures are of being successful.
Remember, dogs love chocolate as much as we do. Dogs have notorious sweet tooths. So, keep boxes of Valentines chocolates, Easter bunnies, and tins of cocoa safely out of their reach.
The information above also applies to cats, as theobromine is also toxic to your feline friend. The chances of you cat actually eating chocolate is lower. They just don’t have the sweet tooth found in dogs, but if your cat does eat chocolate, everything above is relevant.
If you found this information useful, I hope you’ll subscribe for more entertaining videos. But, for now, take care of your friend. And as always, catch ya next time.