The Dangers of Dogs Eating Chocolate

Dogs eating chocolate is not recommended. Some of the properties in chocolate are quite toxic to a dog's system and can even lead to death. If your dog happens to eat a small bit of chocolate, he may not have serious problems. But this depends on the amount, and kind, of chocolate ingested. Your dog's weight and overall health will also affect how he reacts to chocolate. Here are some facts about dogs and chocolate poisoning:

What Is Chocolate Poisoning?

Chocolate contains a natural stimulant known as theobromine, which is derived from the cocoa plant. This ingredient affects dogs' cardiac functions and their central nervous systems. When a dog eats chocolate, he can also have serious seizures.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning

Your dog may spiral out of control from this type of poisoning, as it comes on quickly. In most cases, serious poisoning will occur if your dog has eaten a large portion of dark chocolate. Still, there are no hard and fast rules because a dog who has had even a little of the theobromine can experience symptoms. Overall, be cautious since eating chocolate can be fatal. A dog's symptoms may escalate to hyperthermia, cardiac arrhythmia and coma.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle trembling
  • Becoming overexcited, hyper or restless
  • Sudden need to drink more water
  • Vomiting and nausea

How Much Chocolate Is Harmful to a Dog?

The amount of chocolate harmful to your dog may be hard to determine. Take into account the specific kind of chocolate, along with the dog's size, age and health to determine his condition. Baker's chocolate is stronger than milk chocolate, and is more dangerous if a dog consumes enough of it. A few ounces of baker's chocolate can impair a dog under 10 pounds.

A vet is needed to treat a dog with chocolate toxicity. If your dog has chocolate poisoning a vet may:

  • Give activated charcoal to absorb the poison
  • Perform a gastric lavage or stomach pumping
  • Monitor your dog's vital signs, appearance and attentiveness for a period of time after the event.

However, you may need to act quickly if your dog's condition rapidly progresses. If your dog has ingested chocolate, or is showing signs of poisoning, you may proceed with the following:

  • Call your local poison control center to get specific assistance for your situation
  • Take your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic
  • Call the vet to say you are on your way, and suspect chocolate poisoning
  • If your dog's symptoms worsen, you may induce vomiting

Induce Vomiting for Dog Chocolate Poisoning

Helping your dog to vomit may rid the matter from his system. If your dog does not purge all of the toxic substance, at least you may help stop it from absorbing into his system. There are two typical methods to help a dog vomit. One is administering ipecac syrup, and another is giving your dog a teaspoon full of regular salt.