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Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs… And YES it can be SERIOUS!

If you know anything about dog health, it’s probably that chocolate toxicity in Dogs can be deadly.  No seriously, this isn’t some type of “urban legend”, chocolate can really kill your pet!

But what does it all mean?

Is a single chocolate chip poisonous to dogs? Does chocolate react the same way in all dog breeds?  How much chocolate are we talking about?  A chocolate “chip”?  Or a whole candy bar?

We’ll if you’re like most people…

You probably know that chocolate is bad, but beyond that you’re probably a bit “fuzzy” about the details.  This is why in this article, we wanted to try and shed some lite on this issue so that if your pet ever does get his paws on some chocolate, you’ll be better informed on what to do.

So, without further ado, let’s begin our discussion by answering some of the questions we most often hear by folks wondering about chocolate toxicity or chocolate poisoning in dogs.

Does chocolate result in a form of poisoning in dogs?

Yes, chocolate poisoning in dogs is real.  But the good news is that it’s not as “deadly” as most folks think.  Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take chocolate toxicity seriously, because you definitely should!

Heck…

You should be worried any time your dog consumes anything that he or she shouldn’t, be that a shoe, a child’s toy, or even a small piece of chocolate.  The only difference is that when it comes to chocolate toxicity, several factors are going to come into play before we know just how serious his or her situation may become.

So, what makes chocolate poisonous?

When it comes to chocolate, the problem that it causes for dogs is that it contains two different ingredients or “chemicals” that dogs simply can’t handle well.

The first is caffeine…

Which just like in us humans act’s as a stimulant, only in the case a dogs metabolize that is less “equipped” to handle this chemical can lead to more “exaggerated” symptoms leading to a host of potential medical issues.

But…

Of the two potentially harmful ingredients found in chocolate, caffeine is definitely the less “potentially” deadly.  The real concern most veterinarians have when a dog consumes chocolate is just how much theobromine is consumed.

Theobromine…

Is another stimulant, however this one seems to have a much more POWERFUL affect on a dogs nervous and cardiovascular system and can even effect a dog’s gastrointestinal tract as well.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Chocolate toxicity can present a variety of symptoms including:

  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (both or either)
  • muscle tremors
  • increased urination
  • seizures
  • restlessness
  • increased thirst
  • panting

As well as general “irritability”.

The problem is…

That in most cases, its difficult to know for sure just how much (if any) chocolate was consumed by your pet.  After all, it’s not like you can ask them!  Which makes determining whether your dog is at risk for suffering a “fatal” exposure very difficult to determine.

Plus…

Even if your dog isn’t exhibiting any “signs” of exposure, it’s important to understand that your dog’s body will take a few hours to absorb and process the chocolate before any symptoms may arise.

This is why…

If your dog ate chocolate just now, as safety precaution, we here at IndulgeYourPet always advise our readers to reach out to your local veterinarian right away so that you can have a professional observe his/her symptoms.

Because it’s important to…

Remember that your local veterinarian “operates” on the “front lines” when it comes to dealing with chocolate toxicity and they are much better at recognizing which cases can become a medical emergency.

That and…

They’re also much more likely to have a better understanding of the “toxicity” of a particular “type” of chocolate.  Because as any chocolate lover can tell you, there are plenty of different “types” of chocolates to choose from.  Each of which will have a different level of caffeine and theobromine within them.

For example:  

  • Baker’s chocolate will typically be considered more potent to a dog, and thus more poisonous for your dog than other types of chocolate.
  • Gourmet dark chocolate may be said to be good for humans, but it’s definitely bad for your dog (or cat). This is also a high-risk chocolate.
  • Cocoa Powder is also pretty dangerous for your dog or cat particularly given how easy it is to “spill” this type on the floor!
  • Milk chocolate doesn’t have as much of the bad stuff, but if your dog has eaten a lot, it can become dangerous.

Other products like…

  • Chocolate ice cream,
  • Chocolate doughnuts,
  • Commercially prepared cookies,

And other things that may be more sugar and less real chocolate aren’t urgently dangerous for a dog. Of course, you should definitely not be feeding this stuff to your pup, but in case he gets ahold of a little, he’ll PROBABLY be okay, but you’ll still want to keep an eye on him or her and it never hurts to give your vet a call just to be sure!

Other factors that will come into play will include:

Your dog’s body weight.

If you have a 10 pound dog who ate 3 mini chocolate bars (even if they’re milk), then you’re definitely going to have a problem that you’ll want your vet to keep an eye on.  In cases like these, you might as well just pack up the car, because chances are you’re going to be needing to go to the vet anyways so why wait till symptoms arise!

But, if you have…

A 140 pound dog who ate the same amount of chocolate, you might survive the whole incident with a bit of diarrhea and nothing else substantial (but: you should always keep a close eye on your dog after ANY chocolate consumption just to be on the safe side).  Plus, you should still give your vet a call because in cases like these, most vets will probably just keep them for observation which isn’t something that that is going to “brake” the bank, and if any “serious” issues do arise you’ll know your loved one is in the best possible place to receive the care he or she needs.

How much chocolate your dog consumed is very important.

If you aren’t sure if you left a whole chocolate bar out or it was just a half an ounce, then we would recommend that you “err” on the side of safety. You love your pets, and want the best for them, so might as well head over to the clinic if there is any doubt.

But, if you saw Max (a 60 pound Rotweiller) eat half of a mini chocolate chip cookie, chances are he’ll be fine, just keep an eye on him and if he starts displaying symptoms get him to the vet.

Treatment of Chocolate Toxicity

Treatment for chocolate toxicity really depends on the severity of the toxicity, and will usually focus around treating any “symptoms” that occur and/or actually physically pumping your dogs stomach to rid him or her of any and all chocolate consumed.

In theory…

If your dog eats enough chocolate, he or she could go into cardiac arrest in which case you or your vet may need to perform CPR.

Or your pet…

Could begin suffering from seizures or muscle tremors, in which case you or your vet will want to make sure he/she is in a safe place away from harmful objects.

In cases like these, we should really need to state the obvious, but her goes…

“Get to your vet ASAP”

These are the situations where your vet may need to pump your dog’s stomach or could administer activated charcoal to help reduce toxicity within your pet’s system.

They may also…

Advise you over the phone your vet may ask you to get your pet to vomit. But again, this is something that only a licensed and certified veterinarian should recommend and not something you should attempt on your own because you think it might help.

Which brings us to a very important point.

None of the folks here at IndugleYourPet are doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who really care about animals and only wish the best for you and your pet.

So…

If you believe that your dog may have consumed chocolate or that he or she may be suffering from chocolate toxicity…

STOP READING THIS NOW!

And call your Vet!

But…

If you just wondering what would happen if your dog if he or she did get their paws on some chocolate, well then let us just give you this one last piece of advice.

In this article…

You many have noticed that we here at IndulgeYourPet tend to be a bit cautious when it comes to discussing the health of an animal.  It’s probably why our motto is…

“when in doubt, have a vet check it out!”

And while we know…

That visiting a vet can be expensive at times, this “cost” is nothing compared to the “cost” incurred by losing a loved one when it could have been avoidable.

And seeing how…

Few of us have money to burn, we would encourage you to take a look at our article:  Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies, were we highlight some of the pros and cons of owning a pet insurance policy.

Because who knows…

One day your dog might actually have a serious medical emergency in which case owning a policy like one of these could significantly reduce your out of pocket costs.

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