Chocolate toxicity – what to do
Most dogs love chocolate and with their strong sense of smell they are very good at finding it! The problem is, dogs are not able to metabolise theobromine, a derivative of caffeine found in chocolate.
Ingestion can lead to an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhoea, agitation, tremors, seizures and even death. Cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic but ingestion of ANY chocolate can be a problem.
Not surprisingly, Easter is one of the busiest times for chocolate toxicities and if your dog happens to eat an Easter egg, here’s what we will do:
- We will ask you how much and what type of chocolate your dog has eaten. This helps us work out just how dangerous the ingestion might be. Remember, that cooking and dark chocolate are the most toxic, followed by milk and then white chocolate.
The toxicity is also related to the size of your dog and the amount ingested. It is important to realise that any amount of chocolate can cause a problem so veterinary advice is always advised.
- We will most likely induce emesis (which simply means we make your dog vomit). This is usually done using injection under the skin or application of a medication in to the eye. Vomiting tends to occur quickly and can sometimes be quite spectacular (especially if the wrapping has been consumed too!).
- If we don’t feel enough chocolate has been vomited or if the symptoms are serious, a charcoal meal or enema may be given to help reduce the toxicity. Some dogs will also need further supportive care including intravenous fluid therapy and hospitalisation.
Please phone us immediately, even if you only think your dog has ingested chocolate. We will give you the best advice.