It's a scene no dog owner wants to see: you enter a room where you find your dog surrounded by chocolate wrappers with no chocolate in sight, except for the telltale debris in his muzzle. You know that the melodic things you love are not healthy for your best friend, but how much chocolate is toxic to dogs? Do you have to run to the vet? When faced with this scenario, do not panic. You have a little research to do.
What to do if your dog ate chocolate?
The following factors indicate whether your dog is at risk of chocolate poisoning:
- How much chocolate did your dog eat? Higher amounts of chocolate increase the risk of toxicity. Do not rely on empty envelopes as proof of how much you have swallowed. Dogs are not tender eaters and it is likely that they ate some wraps.
- The type of chocolate your dog has eaten Black chocolate is more toxic to dogs than milk chocolate and white chocolate. Sugar-free chocolates and sweets containing Xylitol are also toxic.
- The size and health of your dog. Small dogs and toy breeds are at a higher risk of ingesting a toxic amount of chocolate relative to their weight. Older dogs and dogs with specific diseases, such as heart disease, are also at increased risk of chocolate poisoning.
Therefore, a Chihuahua who has eaten a dark chocolate bar should be taken to the vet immediately, while you can take a wake-and-wait approach when a San Bernardo eats a few bites of milk chocolate. More specifically, 1 ounce of dark chocolate is toxic to a small dog weighing 20 pounds, while it would cost 2.5 ounces to reach toxic levels in a medium sized dog weighing 50 pounds and 4 ounces for a large dog of 90 pounds to be poisonous. Our infographic on the safety of chocolate and sweets for dogs further reduces the amount of chocolate that is toxic to dogs of different sizes.
Once you've determined the amount and type of chocolate your dog has eaten in proportion to its size, call your veterinarian to find the next steps that are best for your dog.
Always call your veterinarian or seek medical emergency treatment if you are not sure how much chocolate your dog swallowed.
In many cases, your vet will simply ask you to watch your dog for signs of chocolate poisoning and will only bring it when the symptoms appear.
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs?
High body temperature
Increase in heart rate
Low blood pressure
If your dog has eaten a considerable amount of chocolate or you are not sure, you should visit your veterinary office or veterinary clinic so that your dog can be evaluated and treated as needed. Symptoms usually occur between 6 and 12 hours after eating chocolate.
Treating chocolate poisoning in your dog may include:
- Induce vomiting if the chocolate has recently been taken
- Dose activated charcoal to remove toxins from your dog's body and prevent its re-absorption into the bloodstream
- IV fluids to promote the release of toxins
- Medications for the treatment of symptoms
- Observation during the night in dogs who have seizures or heart problems
Why is chocolate toxic to dogs?
Chocolate contains molecules of theobromine and caffeine. Both humans and dogs respond to these compounds by stimulating the cardiovascular and nervous systems. But theobromine and caffeine degrade more slowly in dogs than in humans, causing symptoms to last longer and cause potential complications.
In addition, many sugar-free treats contain the dangerous dog Xylitol sweetener. Replacement of sugar of natural origin stimulates insulin output in the canines, resulting in a decrease in blood sugar that can be fatal.
How to prevent chocolate poisoning in dogs?
To protect your dog from the chocolate supply, make sure it is always out of the reach of the leg. When storing chocolate, keep in mind that your dog has a strong sense of smell, toughness and skillful legs. If she can achieve it, she will do it. To protect your dog from chocolate:
- Do not store chocolate in low cabinets, on the counter, in the middle of the table or on the back of the counter. Even if it seems unattainable, it's probably not for your smart puppy.
- On a tall shelf in a cupboard above the countertop, add all the candies that contain chocolate or Xylitol, as well as ingredients like cocoa, chocolate for baking, and chocolate chips.
- Consider training your dog so that he can not get unhealthy food while away from home.
- Alternatively, you can use a dog door to keep your dog in a room without food or dangerous items.
- Train your dog to "leave" him to leave any dangerous treats he finds when he is with her.
It takes a little planning and special attention to keep your dog away from the chocolate. But with a few guarantees, you can enjoy your sweet tooth without worry. And if you throw puppy eyes that cause blame on your own way, you can throw in some healthy treats for dogs so you can enjoy together.