Easter is fast approaching and so we thought it was a good time to talk about chocolate poisoning in dogs. It is a well-known fact that chocolate is toxic to dogs, however, you may not know all the factors to consider, and what actions should be taken, if your dog accidentally eats some.
Many people know not to feed chocolate to their dogs but at Easter, when there is a lot of chocolate around, accidents do happen!
Why Is Chocolate Toxic To Dogs?
There is a specific chemical in chocolate called ‘theobromine’ and it is this that causes the issue. This, along with the fact that caffeine is also included and dogs cannot metabolise either particularly well.
The amount of theobromine included varies depending on the type of chocolate; with dark, gourmet or cooking chocolate containing larger amounts, making it more dangerous, than milk varieties. White chocolate contains a very minimal amount, however, this should still be considered a problem and therefore be avoided too. The type and quantity of how much is eaten can have different toxicity levels so make sure you let your vet know what type, how much was consumed, and when.
What Should You Do If You Discover Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate?
All cases of chocolate ingestion should be treated as a medical emergency so the main thing to do is get your dog to the practice as soon as possible. Phone ahead to let staff know you are on your way so they can prepare everything needed for treatment.
What Is The Treatment?
Theobromine and caffeine are used in medicines such as diuretics, to dilate blood vessels and act as heart stimulants, so you can understand why we class this as an emergency.
Ideally, emesis (vomiting) should be induced within the first 1-2 hours of ingestion, to assist in the removal of the chocolate from the dog’s system before too much absorption occurs. A simple injection of a drug called apomorphine is usually given to assist with this, and the effects are rapid acting.
Activated charcoal may also be used to help prevent further absorption. If toxic levels of chocolate have been consumed, then supportive treatment of intravenous fluid therapy and close inpatient monitoring of the patient will be carried out.
Signs And Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning
Symptoms may not be immediately apparent, however, some signs include:
- Increased thirst
- An irregular heart rhythm
- High blood pressure
In severe cases, tremors or even seizures can occur.
Considering the topic of Easter, please remember that other Easter treats such as hot cross buns should also be avoided, due to the inclusion of dried fruits, ie currents, raisins and sultanas. These are also toxic to dogs, they can result in renal failure, therefore any ingestion of these should also be treated as a medical emergency!
Valley Vetcare Easter 2023 Opening Hours
Saturday 8th April | 9 am -1 pm
Good Friday 7th April- closed
Easter Sunday 9th April | closed
Easter Monday 10th April | closed
Tuesday 11th April | normal hours will be resumed.
We hope you all have a wonderful Easter 🐣