Chocolate is a much-beloved treat for us humans, but caffeine and theobromine, two substances found in the delicious and milky dessert are deadly to our dogs. We’re not saying you have to cut out chocolate altogether once you welcome a fur baby into your home, but you definitely have to watch where you put it. You may be wondering what happens to your dog if he gets a taste of the cocoa, which is what we will address today.
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Chocolate Poisoning?
Just because your dog crossed paths with chocolate doesn’t mean his fate is automatically sealed. Before you panic about your dog possibly ingesting chocolate look out for these symptoms:
- Fainting or coma
- Sped-up heart rate
- Tremors and spasms
Of course, simply sniffing the chocolate may not cause these serious side effects, but eating a good amount might. You may also see your dog become extra thirsty, drool, have an upset stomach, or vomit. These symptoms are for less dangerous amounts of chocolate. Most often, if your dog gets it out of his system then he will be fine.
The symptoms listed with bullet points are more prevalent when a dog has ingested dangerous amounts and should be rushed to the vet straight away.
If you didn’t happen to see just how much your dog ate, then look at the type of chocolate to determine the chances of fatality. As we mentioned, what’s life-threatening to dogs is the concentration of caffeine and theobromine inside the chocolate. Darker and purer chocolate will have higher doses of both, making them more lethal.
On the other end of the scale, white chocolate does not contain cocoa, which consists of both caffeine and bromine. We still wouldn’t advise giving white chocolate to your dog just in case.
What to Do If Your Dog Ate Chocolate
Now we get to the part about home remedies to try if your dog is caught eating concerning amounts of chocolate.
Prepare Your Dog to Induce Vomiting
The first thing to do is to get rid of the harmful substance, which means purging it from your dog’s system. This is done by vomiting as it’s the quicker method. Before you take steps to make your dog throw up, you must first prepare him. You can do this by feeding your pooch a small amount of food.
Is Royal Canin a good dog food? Yes, you can feed your dog Royal Canin or his regular dog food will do. The small meal is there so he will have something to throw up. Then comes the vomit induction, which can be done with the following:
The first method we would suggest trying is to induce vomiting to try and get the toxic substance out of his system. You can do this by using hydrogen peroxide, and it’s important to do this as soon as possible before the chocolate is digested.
Use high-quality hydrogen peroxide, the 3% kind. For small to medium dogs, a teaspoonful should be enough. Within 30 minutes, your dog should start to regurgitate the chocolate. If you don’t see any effects after that time, do not attempt to feed him more hydrogen peroxide as it can be toxic.
Another method that you can try is activated charcoal. We would typically not recommend this, and it’s also a lesser tried method since not many people have this readily available at home.
When the charcoal enters your dog’s system, it can prevent your dog’s body from absorbing the chocolate, and therefore the harmful ingredients. We would usually suggest 1g of charcoal with one teaspoon of water for every KG of our dog’s weight.
This should be done before your dog shows any of the above symptoms, so it’s imperative that it’s done in a timely manner. There are dangers that come with using activated charcoal without the guidance of your vet.
For example, the substance isn’t easy to administer, it’s messy, and the elevated sodium levels can cause seizures and tremors that could be mistakenly linked to the chocolate.
Call Your Vet
While you may not have to take a trip to the vet just yet, you can always call in for some advice. You should do this right away if you suspect your dog has ingested a life-threatening amount. It’s always a good call and a safe choice to whisk your dog to the vet just for a quick checkup.
If you are successful with the above two steps, it’s also important to give your vet a call just to let them know what happened and if there are any further steps you need to take.
Avoiding Chocolate Poisoning
The best way to avoid chocolate poisoning is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Never give your dog the chance to taste chocolate by leaving some in an easy-to-reach area.
You must also train your dog not to snatch food off of your plate or out of your hand when you’re eating. Not only will this prevent him from eating poisonous foods, but it is also a matter of etiquette. No one likes a poorly behaved fur baby.
Training your dog to drop or leave items he has picked up in his mouth when you tell him to will prevent chocolate poisoning even if he does get some in his mouth. Having some in his mouth without actually swallowing it will be far less deadly than eating a huge chunk.
It can be sad to know our dog won’t be able to enjoy yummy treats what we love, but keep in mind that it’s for his own good. Dogs love the taste of most human foods, so instead of thinking he will enjoy a sweet cocoa snack, try giving him healthy treats such as baby carrots. Not only are carrots rich in beta-carotene and other beneficial compounds, but it’s also sweet and something your pooch will appreciate.
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