Chocolate is wonderful! It can mend a broken heart, establish a relationship, make the world seem a better place. What kind of world would this be without chocolate in it? The same can be said about dogs. They bring warmth, love and care into our lives, with many of the same benefits as chocolate! However, dogs and chocolate are just not mutually compatible.
Danger of Eating Chocolate
Chocolate contains a caffeine-like substance called theobromine which is highly toxic to dogs, and other pets too, although dogs seem to be skilled in finding and eating chocolate where possible. It is highly attractive to canines, just as it is to us, but dogs can be killed by ingesting relatively small amounts of chocolate.
How Much Chocolate is Too Much?
For a dog, any amount is too much. Theobromine content varies widely by type of chocolate, the darker the chocolate the worse the danger, with white chocolate the least dangerous and cocoa beans or powder the most dangerous. Results depend on the individual animal, but 130mg theobromine to 1kg of dog can definitely be fatal. That’s about 2 oz of dark chocolate for a 14 lb dog.
Chocolate Poisoning Signs
Apart from the happy face, you mean? Sadly the happy face won’t last long. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are abdominal pain, throwing up which may include blood, edginess, drool and dehydration. There may be difficulty standing or walking.
If this starts to happen it may be followed by stiffness, blood in the urine, convulsions, blue-tinged gums and even death. These effects may be noticed almost immediately or may take several hours to develop.
Don’t let this happen to your beagle. If you suspect chocolate poisoning, don’t wait for these symptoms to take place. Take him or her to your vet right away. There is no magic bullet for theobromine.
Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is having seizures, your vet will want to stop those first. If the choco binge was recent, your vet will probably make your dog throw up. If that is already happening, it may need to be stopped. Something may be introduced to absorb the poison in your dog’s digestive system, and most definitely an IV will be required.
Your dog may need to be hospitalized for as long as 3 days. The quicker you can get help for your dog, the better the chances of survival.
There is some good news. Once your dog recovers from his chocolate poisoning incidence, the recovery should be complete.
How to Prevent Chocolate Poisoning
There are ways to keep your dog safe. Be sure to never, ever leave chocolate where your beagles are or where they could reach. If your children are chocoholics, don’t allow them to drop chocolates on the floor where your dogs can pick and eat them. Don’t be careless! Keep your dogs and your chocolate apart!
Remember – if you start to see vomitus with chocolate content – contact your vet immediately.