Dogs Like Chocolate
Chocolate is just so good! It's all over the house, especially during the holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. We see a large increase of calls from dog owners whose dogs have overindulged in some chocolate left within reach of their noses. Some dogs will only have the opportunity to get one piece, while other dogs will eat an entire bag until it's gone.
What's So Bad?
Chocolate comes from roasted Theobroma cacao. These seeds contain caffeine and theobromine--both of which can be toxic to dogs. There is a wide range of medical issues related to this toxicity beginning with upset tummy and ending in death by chocolate. Some of the signs and symptoms of chocolate toxicity are:
--Increased body temperature
--Low blood pressure
Which Type of Chocolate?
The toxicity level is directly related to the type and amount of chocolate ingested. Generally, the more "pure" the chocolate is, the greater the chance for toxicity. Some examples of chocolate and their toxicity levels are:
--Milk Chocolate: can become toxic when ingested at 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight.
--Semi-sweet Chocolate: Can become toxic when ingested at 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight.
--Baking Chocolate: Can become toxic at levels of 0.1 ounces per pound of body weight.
If your pet has ingested chocolate and you may need to reference a toxicity meter for dogs, click here for one from PetMD.
What Do I Do?
If your pet has ingested chocolate, you should call your veterinarian immediately. You will need to be able to tell them what kind of chocolate and how much chocolate your dog ingested. If your veterinarian advises you to bring your pet in, they will probably want to run some bloodwork to test for organ function or theobromine levels. An ECG may be necessary to check the heart for any abnormalities. Your veterinarian may also recommend initiating IV Fluid therapy to help minimize the effects of the toxicitiy.
You should always treat chocolate ingestion as an emergency and at the very least call your veterinarian for advice. The earlier the treatment is initialized the better chance for complete recovery.