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Chocolate Poisoning in dogs can have serious health consequences, especially for small dogs. Eating a crumb of chocolate cake or a very small piece of a chocolate bar, on the other hand, probably won’t kill your dog, especially if it is a larger breed. Chocolate should never be fed as a treat. While rarely fatal, chocolate ingestion can result in significant illness.

Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine as well as people can. Theobromine is the main toxin in chocolate and is very similar to caffeine. Both chemicals are used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant.

Susceptibility to chocolate toxicosis also varies according to a dog’s individual sensitivity and it can be hard to tell exactly how much your dog may have eaten. In general, mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity occur when a dog consumes 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of body weight.

Knowing how much and what kind of chocolate your dog ate can help you and your vet determine if you have an emergency.

How Much Chocolate is Poisonous

The type and amount of chocolate ingested by your pet will determine the level of severity. If a dog has eaten a full bar of 70% chocolate, that could be serious. The more concentrated the level of theobromine in the chocolate, the more toxic the dose.

Even a little bit of chocolate can make your dog ill. Dark chocolates, baking chocolate, and dry cocoa powder are more dangerous than white or milk chocolate. But 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight could still be deadly

Signs of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has eaten even a small amount of chocolate, watch out for these signs:

  • Agitation
  • Out-of-character hyperactivity
  • A sore stomach area
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Drinking more than usual.

There are more serious symptoms if your dog has eaten a lot of theobromine. These include:

  • A racing heartbeat
  • Tremors, twitching or seizures
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Panting quickly
  • Feels warm

Treatment of Chocolate Poisoning in Dog

Induce vomiting and give multiple doses activated charcoal to decontaminate. Aggressive IV fluids to help with excretion, sedatives to calm the pet, specific heart medications to reduce the heart rate and blood pressure, anti-convulsants for seizures, antacids (such as Pepcid) for stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Theobromine may be reabsorbed across the bladder wall so a urinary catheter or frequent walks are needed to keep the bladder empty.


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