Valentine's Day may be over, but the sweet reminders of this holiday still linger on. Whether you received a delicately wrapped box of chocolates from your significant other or took full advantage of the 70% off sale at your local grocery store on February 15th, you may be in truffle heaven for the foreseeable future. But what happens if that delight turns into truffle trouble when your dog gets into your stash? Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs, so if your dog happens to get their paws on any of it, you should be prepared to take action.
There are different toxicity levels depending on the type of chocolate. For example, baker’s chocolate or other types contain more cocoa, are worse for your dog than white chocolate or milk chocolate. Theobromine is the ingredient in chocolate that is toxic to dogs. While this ingredient is perfectly fine for humans, dogs cannot metabolize theobromine which makes them much more sensitive to the chemical’s effects.
The first thing to do is to figure out how much chocolate your dog actually ingested. It is also important to keep in mind that your dog’s size is going to play a role in how to chocolate may affect them. For example, if your big German Shepherd ate a chocolate kiss they’ll probably be just fine. However, that same amount for a tiny Yorkie could cause some problems.
The next thing to do is call your vet and let them know how much chocolate your dog ate. They can take into account your dog’s size, the amount of chocolate, as well as the type of chocolate to devise a plan for you. If your vet tells you to wait it out and monitor your pup, you should be looking for the initial signs of chocolate poisoning which are vomiting, diarrhea, shaking and irritability, increased urination, and something even lethargy. If your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate, your vet will probably want you to bring them in for treatment sooner rather than later.
When you arrive at the vet, their first course of action will be to try to induce vomiting. The vet may give your pup activated charcoal to assist with this. If the chocolate has already been absorbed, your vet may want to add IV fluids to help flush them out their system and manage chocolate poisoning symptoms as well as prevent dehydration. Thankfully, the treatment to remove chocolate from your dog’s system is very effective. The sooner you begin the treatment, the easier it will be for your pup to have a swift recovery!
While chocolate poising is some serious stuff, there are also other foods items and that are considered toxic for your dog. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these and keep them away from your pets.
It's also good to keep the Pet Poison Helpline's phone number on hand. They are animal poison control service that is available 24 hours, seven days a week. You can speak directly to a veterinarian to discuss anything your dog has gotten into. Their normal fee is $59 per incident, however, this is completely FREE to our Link users with your Link subscription. You can find a special access phone number to use right within your app!