Chocolate makes the world go around and in almost every house you will find a selection of this mouth watering treat. Eating chocolate seems to be a national pastime and gives us a sense of well being. In over sixty percent of the homes that have this delicious treat available, you will also find a hungry and curious dog who seems to love that bar of chocolate in your hand.
Unfortunately that combination does not mix well. So what can chocolate do to your dog, and why is it considered poison?
Dogs and puppies do not have the ability as we humans do to digest a simple chemical found in chocolate called “Theobromine”. When theobromine is ingested by an animal it affects are horrific on the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system. This effect of the chemical has a very harsh effect on the animal’s body causing severe trauma and oftentimes death.
How much chocolate is too much? It is important to know just how much chocolate can produce toxic effects on your dog and that amount is one hundred to one hundred and fifty milligrams. That measurement does not mean much to most people, so to simplify it, if you have a twenty pound dog that means to reach the level of becoming poisoned they have to eat approximately ten ounces, depending on the type of chocolate. Bakers chocolate and unsweetened chocolate are harsher types for any dog to eat only because the chocolate is purer therefore they contain a higher dosage of Theobromine than the regular candy bar type chocolate.
If you suspect your animal has eaten chocolate what signs do you look for? Toxic signs occur quickly so even if there is any question as to whether your animal has consumed chocolate or not, take the animal to the vet. Do not wait to see if the animal will be alright because any delay in treatment can be devastating. Your dog, if untreated, can quickly go into convulsions, have arrhythmia, stop breathing and go into a coma.
First your dog may start vomiting on its own. If not you can induce vomiting with a hydrogen peroxide solution of half peroxide and half water.
The animal will also experience severe diarrhea which can cause the animal to dehydrate quickly.
Seek medical help immediately. Be sure to take the vet the unfinished chocolate if any is left and any wrappings from the chocolate. This will help the vet to identify the type of chocolate and the concentration of the candy.
The vet will begin treatment and induce vomiting if vomiting has not already occurred. Usually the vet will use activated charcoal to induce. The vet will also start an IV for hydration and also to administer medication. The vet will also administer anti-seizure medication because animals that have ingested chocolate have a ninety eight percent chance of having severe seizures. If your animal is having extreme symptoms or cardiac problems he will easily be able to give those cardiac medications through the IV. The stay after this treatment in an easy case is usually two days, although in more extreme instances the hospital stay for your animal could be weeks.
The best medicine in these cases is prevention. If sweets such as chocolate are a frequent snack in your household take care to remove them from anywhere your pet happens to be traveling in your home. An ounce of prevention “is” in this case, worth a pound of cure. For more information please check the dog food reviews by our dog food advisor.