What happens if a dog eats chocolate?
If your dog eats cookies with a few chocolate chips, it is not really an issue to worry about. However, certain types of chocolate can pose to be a problem for your dog's health. The less sweet and darker variety can be toxic to your pet. The chemical toxicity in chocolates is due to the presence of methylxanthine (theobromine), and commonly results in vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation of the pancreas. Some dog owners can also notice an abnormal heart rhythm, hyperactivity, muscle incoordination, and seizures when the pet consumes large and serious quantities of chocolate.
Theobromine is a poisonous stimulant for dogs and mainly affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys. Symptoms may not occur immediately and can even take a full day before making an appearance. The severeness of the symptoms varies with the amount and type of chocolate consumed by the dog. Baking chocolate, in all doses, can be lethal for the dog.
What happens if a dog eats chocolate? Typically you should not give any chocolate to your dog but if for some reason they have consumed a lot of chocolate and are showing signs of chocolate poisoning, you can treat them by consulting a veterinarian. Signs of poisoning can occur depending on the amount of chocolate your dog has consumed. White chocolate contains minimal amount of theobromine while baking chocolate is very high on the chemical. This means that consumption of lesser amounts of baking chocolate can still result in highly adverse results in a dog while the same dog would have to consume higher amounts of white chocolate to feel the same results. Another important actor to consider when talking about the level of poisoning is the weight of the dog. A lighter dog can get easily poisoned while a heavier dog will need a heavier dosage.
So, how can one treat their dog for poisoning from chocolate? There is no direct antidote for theobromine and most veterinarians would try to get the chemical out of the dog's system. A common way to do so is by making him vomit out the contents of his stomach as soon as possible (preferably, right after the dog has consumed chocolate). This will be followed by a cleansing process of the stomach. Then, the doctor might feed your dog with some activated charcoal which will absorb any theobromine left in the intestine.
To treat the severe symptoms that accompany chocolate poisoning, a veterinarian can give your dog sedatives to calm the pet, anti convulsants to treat seizures, and specific heart medication in case your dog's heartbeat cannot be regulated. Antacids are given to relieve them of diarrhea and stomach discomfort.
Chocolates may seem like a benign food item but can have life threatening effects on your dog. Thus, you should make sure that it is kept away from his reach or he may end up harming himself! Be a responsible pet owner for your furry friend!