Chocolate Toxicity

THE EASTER BUNNY IS COMING!!! HOORAY!!! Who doesn’t love chocolate? Even dogs will eat it any chance they get. However, it is recommended that you do not give chocolate to dogs in any form. Chocolate can be very harmful to dogs. Chocolate is made from cocoa, which contains a substance called theobromine that can be poisonous to dogs, resulting in severe illness. The level of toxicity depends on the amount and type of chocolate consumed, as well as the size of the animal. Different types of chocolate contain different concentrations of theobromine. The darker and the more bitter the chocolate: the more theobromine and the more toxic for the animal. For example, high quality dark or cooking chocolate contains more theobromine than milk chocolate. White chocolate contains very little theobromine. 30g of dark cooking chocolate may potentially poison a 20kg dog; yet 225g of milk chocoate would be required to cause problems.       

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may take a number of hours to develop and include:

  • Restlessness
  • Over-excitement/agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Nervousness 
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Increased drinking
  • Increased urination
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Possible Death.

What to do if your dog has or is suspected of consumed chocolate:

  • Take the chocolate away ASAP ( and dont eat it yourself in this instance)
  • Try to figure out an approximate amount of chocolate consumed by your dog
  • Call Northgate Veterinary Surgery for advice and for an appointment as soon as possible
  • The sooner the chocolate is removed from your dog and your dog is stabilised, the better his/her chances of escaping serious problem.

What happens on arrival to the Vet Clinic?

The Veterinarian may administer medication to induce vomiting and may also administer activated charcoal to reduce further absorption of chocolate from the gut. 
Your dog may require admission into hospital for monitoring and supportive treatments such as intravenous fluid therapy and management of seizures, irregular heart beats or other complications if they occur. 

Written by Natasha Jones, Veterinary Nurse

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