Signs of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs & Treatment

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 have a talent for finding and eating it if at all possible. It is highly attractive to canines, just as it is to us, but dogs can be killed by relatively small amounts.

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 1k 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 thirst. 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 best friend. 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 episode, that recovery should be complete.

How to Prevent Chocolate Poisoning

There is really only one way to keep your dog safe because dogs like chocolate just as much as humans do, and will go to considerable lengths to get hold of it. Please be sure to never, ever leave chocolate around for your pets to reach. If your children are chocoholics, never put them in a position where they dropped chocolate on the floor and Fido cleaned it up for them. Keep your dogs, and your chocolate apart!

Remember – if you start to see vomit with chocolate content – run for your vet.