Your dog ate chocolate, and you know that can be an emergency. So what should you do first? The answer depends on the amount he ate, and the size of your dog…
Most people already know that chocolate is toxic for dogs. You wouldn’t just hand your dog a chocolate bar—just like you wouldn’t give him a bowl of antifreeze to drink!
But dogs can be sneaky and creative. If you leave the room and there is a box of chocolates or a candy bar on the table, your pet may find a way to help himself!
Unfortunately you can’t assume that your dog’s instincts about food are good and that if he likes a food, it’s good for him.
Dogs love chocolate, and it can be deadly for them.
Dogs are very creative at finding chocolate to eat.
Chocolate and Dogs
The ingredient in chocolate that is harmful is called theobromine. It occurs naturally in chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.
The size of your dog and the amount of chocolate that he eats, make a big difference when you are considering how toxic a piece of chocolate is to him.
For example, a 5 pound dog will get a lot sicker than a 50 pound dog, who has eaten exactly the same size piece of chocolate!
Theobromine, the dangerous part of chocolate, will stay in your dog’s bloodstream for 14-20 hours after he ingests it.
Chocolate is Bad for Dogs
Letting your dog have even a little bit of chocolate is serious. Dogs who have eaten a considerable amount of chocolate (for their size) can have these symptoms:
- Gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Heart attack
- Internal bleeding
- Epileptic seizures in dogs who are prone to them
What to Do if Your Dog Ate Chocolate
If you find that your dog has helped himself to some chocolate, there are several things that you can do.
First, see if determine how much chocolate your dog ate, if you can. If you know that it’s a very small amount, you can try to induce vomiting to get rid of the chocolate in his system.
If your dog has lost his gag reflex or is unconscious, you can’t do this.
You might try activated charcoal if your dog ate chocolate. You can purchase activated charcoal powder, capsules or tablets. This article illustrates many of the uses for activated charcoal for both animals and people.
In addition, you can make homemade charcoal dog biscuits to keep on hand.
When you give your dog activated charcoal, the theobromine in the chocolate will bond chemically to the charcoal, and the toxins will be excreted in your dog’s feces.
If your pet has eaten a large amount of chocolate, or he is a small breed dog, take him ASAP to the veterinarian. You are dealing with a true emergency, and you need to get help!