It is so delicious that you may have been tempted to give chocolate to your pet, not knowing how dangerous chocolate is for dogs. What can happen to a dog if it has eaten chocolate? What is the amount considered as toxic?
To answer these questions, as well as to know what we can do if by mistake we have given chocolate to dogs, we have prepared this article from Las Almenas. Maybe some of our advice can save your dog’s life.
Chocolate for dogs, why is it so bad?
Perhaps you may think that the reason why you can’t give chocolate to dogs is because this food contains a lot of sugar. It is true that sugar is totally discouraged for dogs, but this is not the exact reason why chocolate for dogs can be deadly.
Specifically, it is the theobromine that causes an intoxication that could end in a terrible outcome.
Theobromine is a substance that stimulates the central nervous system, similar to caffeine. This also happens to people, but in the case of dogs this situation is really toxic.
This happens because dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly, releasing large amounts of adrenaline and increasing muscle contractions that can occur in the heart muscle. But chocolate for dogs also affects other types of muscles in the body which, instead of contracting, relax causing breathing problems and increased urination. For all these reasons it is essential to avoid giving chocolate to dogs.
What happens if the dog has eaten too much chocolate?
Since chocolate for dogs is dangerous, you should try never to give it to them. But if you have offered it to him because you did not know that chocolate for dogs is so dangerous or if the dog has taken it without you noticing, you will have to observe what are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning for dogs:
- Hyperactive behavior.
- Muscle spasms.
- Heart or respiratory failure, in the most severe cases of chocolate poisoning for dogs.
Types and quantity of chocolate
Chocolate should not be given to dogs in any form or quantity. However, the damage it can cause will depend on the amount of chocolate the dog has ingested and the size of the animal.
The concentration of theobromine in the chocolate ingested should also be taken into account. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Thus, dark chocolate for melting has ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate and thousands of times more than white chocolate, which has no risk of toxicity.
What do I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?
We have already told you about the symptoms you may notice when giving chocolate to dogs. So, if you see that the animal presents any of the symptoms or you know that he has eaten a dangerous amount, you should go to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Most likely, even if your dog presents these symptoms, he could easily recover at home if the intake has been small, but if you make a mistake or do not give it importance, your furry friend can suffer serious consequences.
When you go to the vet, remember to have as much information as possible about the type and amount of chocolate he has ingested. The more information you can provide, the better. It is also important that you give details of the symptoms you have observed in the dog.
It is possible that, if you are far away from the veterinarian, he may recommend that you make the dog vomit. In this case, you will have to act quickly to induce vomiting in your dog to prevent the chocolate from being digested by the body and start causing damage. To make a dog vomit, it is advisable to follow the steps indicated by the veterinarian so as not to cause any harm to your dog.
Keep in mind that, in order to make your dog vomit, no more than 2 hours must have passed since he has ingested the chocolate for dogs.
Since chocolate for dogs is so harmful, you can make him vomit by diluting 1 to 3 tablespoons of salt in a glass of water. You can administer this preparation through a syringe by giving it to him little by little.
If all this works, your dog will start to have abdominal contractions, nausea and salivation, until finally comes vomiting, with which he will expel the chocolate he had ingested.
Veterinary treatment for chocolate for dogs
Whether or not he has vomited, it is necessary that, as soon as you can, you go to a veterinarian so that he can be examined.
Due to the danger of chocolate for dogs, when you go to the vet, he will perform a series of tests, such as a physical examination to check for signs of intoxication, such as bright red mucous membranes, tachycardia or breathing too fast (tachypnea). The appropriate treatment would be:
- If you have not been able to get him to vomit, the veterinarian will make the dog vomit. We insist that this must be done within 2 hours after the ingestion of this food.
- Administer fluid therapy to detoxify the organism.
- It is possible that your veterinarian may need to perform a stomach pumping, for which it will be necessary to place a nasogastric tube.
- Other specialists determine that when chocolate has been given to dogs, it may be necessary to administer activated charcoal, since this product can prevent the chocolate from being absorbed by the dog’s organism.
How to prevent chocolate poisoning
Now that you know that chocolate for dogs is really harmful, if you want to prevent your dog from suffering from chocolate poisoning, you can follow these basic but essential tips to save your furry friend’s life:
- Store chocolate in a safe place.
Do not leave chocolate in places accessible to your dog because in a moment of carelessness, he can reach it and put it in his mouth.
- Never offer him chocolate
He may be looking at you with greedy eyes and you may find it hard to resist giving him chocolate, but it is better not to do it. It is true that, if it is a very small amount in proportion to the animal’s weight, nothing should happen, but why take a gamble? It is always better to avoid any risk and suffering to your dog.
- Don’t let anyone feed your dog.
Don’t let anyone feed your dog without your consent. Keep in mind that many people, especially children, do not know that chocolate for dogs is toxic, so they can offer this food without you noticing.
Incidentally, teach children how to care for pets and why they should not be given chocolate for dogs.
- Offer your dog quality food.
Remember that feeding your dog is a serious and important issue. You should avoid giving him chocolate, as well as other harmful products. Try to always give him high-end feeds and foods that offer a balanced composition and are made with quality ingredients.
In addition, you can also give him fruits and vegetables, as there are many that are healthy for your dog. If you want to know what they are, you can read our article Healthy fruits and vegetables for your dog.
As you can see, chocolate for dogs is toxic and can be a veterinary emergency.
And you, did you know that chocolate for dogs is so harmful? Have you ever found yourself in this situation or in another type of canine intoxication? Tell us your experience and doubts. You can send them to us through the comments box below or through our profiles on Facebook and Instagram profiles, as well as on our YouTube channel.