There are many things that dogs love to eat that are not pet food. Everyone can think of a time when their dog grabbed a hamburger or a steak off the table or found a potato chip on the floor and ate it. However, there are some foods that dogs cannot eat because they are highly toxic.
Chocolate is very toxic to dogs, and you should never let your dog eat it. The amount of chocolate and the size of your dog can impact the severity of your dog’s reaction to this food, but no amount of chocolate should be considered safe. There are no dog breeds that are approved to eat chocolate, and you should not ever assume that your pet will not get sick if they have eaten chocolate.
Why is Chocolate so Toxic to Dogs?
Dogs are not able to metabolize caffeine, but the bigger culprit when it comes to chocolate is the theobromine in chocolate. This is a caffeine-like substance that is tolerated by humans, but which is so hard for dogs to digest that it can kill them in a matter of hours. Many people are not aware that this compound is in chocolate, and they just assume that a small amount of chocolate here and there will not harm their dog.
Some pets are more prone to having issues with this substance than others, but anything more than a very small dose of theobromine is always deadly to dogs. Dark chocolate is worse for dogs than milk chocolate because it contains more theobromine and caffeine. Dogs are attracted to both kinds of chocolate in most cases, and the bitterness of dark chocolate is usually not a deterrent.
How Do I Know My Dog Has Eaten Chocolate?
For most dogs, it does not take long before they start to show symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Most dogs will show signs of bloat, where their abdomen becomes severely distended. This will be followed by severe vomiting and diarrhea in most cases. The pancreas is often attacked by the toxicity related to chocolate, so blood in the diarrhea and vomit is quite common as well.
Within a half hour of eating chocolate, some dogs will collapse, and they might have seizures as well. This is not usually a kind of toxicity that comes on slowly, so even if you are not sure that your dog ate chocolate, you need to get them to the veterinarian right away. Vet clinics advise that you call ahead before you arrive so that there is staff waiting to get your dog treatment as soon as they arrive. The timeline for saving a dog that has eaten chocolate is very tight, and even with treatment, some dogs still die.
What if I Don’t Live Close to a Vet?
If you think that your dog has eaten chocolate, you need to call your vet right away. If you live too far away to get your dog help right away, your vet clinic might help you to take the steps necessary to induce vomiting. Sometimes getting the chocolate out of your dog’s system can save their life. This is not a complex process, and you should have all the necessary items in your home to help induce vomiting.
Your vet will still want to see your dog after they have finished vomiting so that they can administer fluids and make sure that there are no further negative consequences of the chocolate-eating event. However, if you can get your dog to throw up the chocolate, you can usually buy them some time to get to the clinic. Being sure about where the emergency vet clinic is in your area can be valuable as well. Often an emergency vet clinic can see your dog right away when your regular vet might have to turn you away.
Keep Chocolate Put Away
Make sure that you never leave chocolate where your dog can get into it. Keep it in sealed containers on the shelf or in the cupboard. Dogs can be very clever at getting things off the counter or out of drawers, so make sure that you do not assume that you can keep chocolate up high without your dog getting into it. Make sure as well that you talk to your kids about the dangers of feeding the dog chocolate. Kids love this treat and can be inclined to share it with the family pet.
It is always a good idea to avoid your dog ever getting chocolate in the first place. Dogs that have ingested too much chocolate are always at risk of passing away, and you should be safe rather than sorry when it comes to chocolate. You should never assume that your dog will not eat something so tempting when it falls on the floor or when it is placed where your dog can get into it.
Dogs Who Eat Chocolate Are Considered Emergency Cases
Your local vet or the local emergency vet considers a dog ingesting chocolate to be an emergency in every case. If your dog has eaten chocolate, call your Live Oak Veterinary Hospital vet at 209-432-9437 and get them to the vet clinic right away. Your dog’s life depends on rapid treatment for this kind of event in most cases. The sooner that your pet’s stomach is emptied, and they are given medication to help counteract toxicity, the more likely it will be that they will make it.
Always keep chocolate where your pet cannot get into it easily. Also, be sure that you tell guests and kids in the home that your dog absolutely cannot have chocolate. Not everyone is aware that chocolate is so toxic to dogs, and you should not assume that the people around you know that this is not something that a dog should eat. Being sure that your dog never gets into chocolate is always a much better idea than having to react to a situation where they have ingested it.