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Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Chocolate is one of the most common human foods to poison our pet dogs. Just like us, a dog will find the taste of chocolate to be quite enjoyable--however, it contains ingredients that can prove harmful or even deadly in high doses. 

Why is Chocolate Toxic?

Chocolate of all types contains theobromine, a stimulant chemical that's similar to caffeine. Chocolate also does contacin actual caffeine, although in much lower concentrations than theobromine. These chemical stimulate the central nervous system and heart, cause digestive upset, and increase blood pressure. Dark, baker's and unsweetened chocolates have the highest levels of theobromine and are therefore the most dangerous. Milk and white chocolate have lower concentrations of the stimulant, but are still hazardous. Items with choclate in them, like cookies or cakes, are also potentially poisonous.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning

  • Agitation
  • Excitement
  • Thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination (severe)
  • Seizures (sever)

Without treatment, an episode of chocolate poisoning can lead to come and even death. Smaller dogs are at even greater risk of chocolate poisoning, simply because it wont take as much of the hazardous chemicals to cause severe health complications.

Treating Chocolate Poisoning

If you've seen your dog consume chocolate, tell your vet the type and amount that's been swallowed. Your vet may induce vomiting or give your pet a special absorbent charcoal medication, which binds to the chocolate in your dog's instestines and prevents it from being absorded. For dogs that have already absorded the theobromine into their systems, IV fluids, anti-seizure medicine and heart medication may be helpful.

Preventing Chocolate Poisoning

Keep your dog safe from harm by keeping chocolate or any items containging chocolate well out of your pets reach. Store hazardous items in sealed containers and plave them inside closed cabinets. Never leave chocolate of any kind out on kitchen countertops or tables where pets could swipe them down.