Your Dog Ate Chocolate? You Have To Do That!

Chocolate is poisonous for dogs – many owners know that. Especially if you like to reach for a chocolate bar yourself, it can happen that your dog accidentally eats some of the candy. Your Petreader tells you what you should do in this case.

In any case, it is important to act quickly. Chocolate poisoning in dogs is a real emergency that should be treated promptly by a veterinarian.

The more chocolate your dog has eaten, the dangerous the situation. The type of chocolate also makes a difference: “We are really alarmed when it comes to dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Because these contain a lot of theobromine and caffeine, ”explains veterinarian Dr. Alex Blutinger, for example, to “The Dodo”.

Theobromine and caffeine have a stimulating effect on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. They ensure that blood pressure and pulse rate rise. The blood vessels constrict and the irritation threshold of the nervous system drops, which can lead to restlessness and tremors or even seizures.

How Much Chocolate Is Dangerous for Your Dog

Depending on how much chocolate and thus theobromine your dog has ingested, he can show different symptoms. At 20 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, the dog will typically experience vomiting, diarrhea, and an increased feeling of thirst.

Bitter chocolate contains around 16 milligrams of theobromine per gram, while (dry) cocoa powder contains 28.5 milligrams per gram. A dachshund weighing five kilograms would only have to eat around six grams of dark chocolate to show the first symptoms of intoxication.

With a theobromine dose of 40 to 50 milligrams per kilo of body weight, circulatory problems such as cardiac arrhythmias and palpitations occur.

With at least 60 milligrams per kilogram, seizures and impaired consciousness can also occur. In our dachshund example, just under 19 grams are enough, i.e. about a fifth of a chocolate bar.

Without treatment, poisoning can lead to death: the immediate cause of death is often either arrhythmia, respiratory failure, or overheating of the body.

When Does a Dog Show Symptoms of Intoxication?

The owner does not always notice that the dog has been eating chocolate. It takes an average of two to four, but sometimes up to twelve hours until the first symptoms appear.

If your dog suddenly drinks a lot, has diarrhea, and is vomiting, you should pay attention. Hyperactivity and restlessness can also indicate theobromine poisoning.

But that doesn’t mean you should wait for symptoms to appear: if you know your dog has eaten chocolate, getting help quickly is crucial. Take your four-legged friend to the vet as soon as possible. Because: Without treatment, poisoning can be fatal within 12 to 36 hours in the worst case.

How is Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs Treated?

The most important thing: alert the vet immediately! He knows how to best treat your dog. If your four-legged friend has not yet developed any symptoms, forced vomiting or activated charcoal are usually used. This prevents theobromine from entering your dog’s circulation.

If the first symptoms have already appeared, the vet can counteract them with certain medications. He can then give your dog remedies for seizures and cardiac arrhythmias. Infusions can also help by diluting the theobromine in the blood plasma. A urinary catheter can prevent the bladder wall from reabsorbing the theobromine.

Chocolate: Does it Affect the Dog?

The good news is that most dogs will recover within 24-48 hours of successful treatment. In this case, there are no long-term consequences – provided they were processed immediately after consuming the chocolate, ideally within two to four hours.

On the other hand, if the dog already has a central nervous system disorder, the chances of recovery are less. Even if theobromine itself does not cause irreparable harm, complications of poisoning can cause it.

“Because chocolate can have potentially life-threatening effects on the cardiovascular and central nervous system, this should be taken very seriously,” warns Dr. Blütinger.

And for the future: always keep your dog safe!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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