As you hopefully know as a dog owner, chocolate is highly toxic to dogs. Depending on the specific type of chocolate, the amount of that chocolate your dog ate and the size of your dog, it could cause a serious, possibly life-threatening medical emergency. We’re not talking about a small amount of milk chocolate here—we’re talking about bags full of chocolate candies, or massive chocolate bars.
Here’s some information from a veterinarian in Saint Francisville, LA about what you should know about dogs and chocolate.
What makes chocolate so dangerous to dogs?
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which can quickly speed up the heart rate of dogs while stimulating their nervous system. The types of chocolate that have the highest concentration of these substances are cocoa powder (the most toxic form of chocolate to dogs), unsweetened baker’s chocolate, semisweet chocolate and dark chocolate, though milk chocolate and even white chocolate (the least toxic form of chocolate to dogs) can be toxic in large enough quantities.
A few Hershey kisses or a small-sized Snickers is unlikely to affect a medium-sized dog, but you should always monitor your dog for signs of toxicity if you know he’s eaten chocolate. These signs include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, restlessness, seizures, elevated heart rate or collapse. They will manifest themselves within six to 12 hours after the dog ate chocolate.
Take action if your dog eats chocolate
If you believe your dog consumed chocolate, you should call your veterinarian immediately, or the pet poison helpline (855-213-6680). Depending on the dog’s size and the amount and type of chocolate, your veterinarian might simply recommend you monitor for the above signs, and call back if the condition worsens.
However, in severe cases, the vet may ask you to bring your dog into the clinic. If the chocolate consumption was recent, the vet may induce vomiting and take steps to remove the toxins from its body.
You should also do what you can around your home to prevent the dog from being able to access chocolate in the first place. Even though small amounts of chocolate are unlikely to affect big dogs, you should still never give it to those dogs as a treat. Make sure you store all chocolate items somewhere the dog cannot get to them, such as in high shelves in a closed-off pantry. Never leave chocolate out on tables, countertops or in purses. This is going to be especially important around the holidays—dogs love to search through Christmas stockings and Easter baskets.
It can also be very helpful to teach your dog the “leave it” command, so you can prevent it from eating something that falls onto the ground.
Finally, crate training your dog so he’s comfortable in a crate overnight or while you’re away from the house can prevent him from getting curious and searching for morsels while not under your supervision.
For more information about how to deal with dogs and chocolate, contact a veterinarian in Saint Francisville, LA at St. Francisville Animal Hospital.
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