Theobromine, naproxen, and lidocaine cannot be adequately metabolized or broken down in dogs with a certain mutation in their CYP1A2 gene (the variant is 1117C>T). This could explain why some dogs become ill after ingesting only a small amount of chocolate and has crucial consequences for their medical care.
What should you do, then, if you think your dog may have consumed chocolate? You have several choices. To determine if your dog is likely to have symptoms, use an internet calculator like this one or contact animal poison control (1-888-426-4435 in Canada and the U.S.). You should keep a close eye on your dog regardless of what they say, checking for symptoms such a high heart rate, vomiting, or tremors, while keeping in mind that such resources are not a replacement for veterinary care.
You should take your dog to the vet immediately away if they consumed an unknown amount of chocolate, are displaying symptoms, are pregnant (theobromine can cross the placenta and impact the puppy), or have any other health issues. Veterinarian anti-chocolate remedies are most successful if administered as soon as possible after intake, even if symptoms may not appear for up to two hours after ingestion.
What precisely is done to treat theobromine poisoning in dogs? Decontamination of the stomach. Emptying the stomach is the first step (if the ingestion was recent enough). This frequently involves the use of the chemical apomorphine, which is injected into the eye to be swiftly absorbed.
A veterinarian will then give activated charcoal, a finely powdered substance that can bind a range of medications and chemicals. Because it turns your dog’s stool black, activated charcoal is typically given by combining it with wet dog food as soon as possible after ingesting the poison. Charcoal must occasionally be administered again, although it can also be effective with just one dose.
A theobromine-intoxicated dog will only receive medication to treat their specific symptoms after these steps, such as Diazepam for seizures or hyperexcitability, beta blockers for a fast heart rate, atropine for a low heart rate, or other medications.
It turns out that cats are more prone to theobromine poisoning than dogs, despite the fact that we never hear of a cat becoming ill after eating chocolate. How come?
primarily because dogs tend to eat more recklessly than cats do. While cats tend to be fussy eaters, dogs are infamous for eating almost anything they can get their hands on, even joint butts, which puts them at risk for cannabis toxicity. This can be partially explained by the fact that cats cannot taste glucose.
You probably wouldn’t eat much of it if all chocolate tasted like 100% dark chocolate.
- Theobromine, which dogs cannot adequately metabolize, is the main reason why chocolate is deadly to dogs.
- With respect to weight, a dog’s ability to consume chocolate without developing symptoms varies significantly.
- If your dog consumes chocolate, you should keep a close eye on them and take them to the vet if they exhibit any symptoms, are very young, pregnant, or have other health issues.
Special thanks to Henry, who, as you may assume, inspired this paper by eating chocolate, and Rachel Malkani, a veterinary PhD candidate and MSc. CDBC.
What dosage of chocolate is harmful to dogs?
According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health, chocolate includes both theobromine and caffeine, both of which can raise a dog’s heart rate and excite their nervous system. Calculate your dog’s risk of toxicity using this simple application. The likelihood that your dog may get sick after eating chocolate depends on the type, quantity, and weight of the dog. Various forms of chocolate have different amounts of these harmful ingredients. Following are a few chocolate varieties, listed by theobromine content:
- cocoa butter (most toxic)
- Unsweetened chocolate for baking
- Unsweetened chocolate
- a deep chocolate
- chocolate milk
You and your veterinarian can decide whether you have an emergency by knowing how much and what sort of chocolate your dog consumed. A dog would typically have minor signs of chocolate toxicity at 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of body weight. Around 40 to 50 mg/kg of chocolate causes cardiac symptoms, while 60 mg/kg or more causes convulsions.
That translates into a pretty alarming dose of chocolate, which is roughly one ounce of milk chocolate for every pound of body weight. Even one Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar, which weighs 1.55 ounces on average, can have harmful effects, especially for little dogs. On the other side, your dog generally won’t die from eating a tiny piece of chocolate bar or a crumb of chocolate cake, especially if it is a larger breed. Nevertheless, chocolate should never be given as a treat.
Can a dog be harmed by a small amount of chocolate?
Your dog will likely just experience an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea after eating a modest amount of chocolate. Dogs who have consumed 14g of milk chocolate and 3.5g of dark chocolate for every kilogram of body weight need to be treated. Never use chocolate as a motivator.
What occurs when a dog consumes chocolate?
Yes, dogs are poisoned by chocolate. Although seldom fatal, eating chocolate can cause serious disease. Theobromine, a substance found in chocolate together with caffeine, makes it poisonous. The major poison in chocolate, theobromine is extremely similar to caffeine. Both substances have medical uses as a smooth muscle relaxant, blood vessel dilater, diuretic, and stimulant of the heart. Theobromine and caffeine are not metabolized by dogs as well as they are by humans. Dogs are therefore more susceptible to the impacts of the toxins.
How much chocolate is poisonoustoadog?
The type of chocolate affects how much theobromine is poisonous. The danger of chocolate to dogs increases with its darkness and bitterness. Gourmet dark chocolate and baking chocolate are extremely concentrated and have a theobromine content per ounce of 130–450 mg. Only 44–58 mg/ounce are present in typical milk chocolate. With approximately 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce, white chocolate rarely offers a risk of chocolate poisoning. Dogs can get sick from the chocolate’s fat and sugar even if the amount consumed is not toxic. In severe situations or in dogs with particularly sensitive stomachs, they can lead to pancreatitis. In order to put this into perspective, consider that a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would only have to consume 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 9 ounces of milk chocolate in order to possibly exhibit poisoning symptoms. Small amounts of milk chocolate are generally not dangerous for dogs to consume.
What are the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning?
Clinical symptoms vary according to the type and amount of chocolate consumed. The most frequent clinical symptoms in many dogs include excessive urination, excessive panting, increased thirst, restlessness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Muscle tremors, convulsions, and heart failure are among the symptoms that might appear in severe cases. The prognosis for chocolate poisoning can go worse due to complications including aspiration pneumonia from vomiting. If in doubt, quick veterinary care is advised if a poisonous quantity of chocolate is consumed.
One chocolate chip—will it harm a dog?
The dose is what creates the poison! It’s doubtful that pets who consume a few M&Ms or 1-2 nibbles of a chocolate chip cookie will experience chocolate poisoning.
- Dogs who consume more than 0.5 ounces of milk chocolate per pound of body weight are at danger of developing chocolate toxicity.
- Poisoning can result by eating more dark or semi-sweet chocolate than 0.13 ounces per pound.
- The majority of baker’s chocolate ingestions can cause poisoning and are therefore treated as emergencies.
- Animals who are really young, elderly, or have underlying diseases need to be handled more gently since they are more vulnerable to poisoning than mature animals that are in good health.
- Some pets may experience pancreatitis (pancreatic inflammation) after consuming chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate due to the high fat content in chocolate (see fatty foods).
Does one M&M harm a dog?
Each dog owner has a secret fear that one day they would discover that their beloved canine couldn’t resist the chocolate goodies on the kitchen counter. The following information regarding chocolate and dogs could save your life.
The Science Behind Dogs Eating Chocolate
- Theobromine and caffeine are the poisonous components of chocolate. So please don’t give Fido a mocha coffee! When you next use the drive-through at Starbucks, stick with the Puppuccino.
- At modest dosages, chocolate can produce agitation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Unsettling effects including cardiac arrhythmia and seizures can be brought on by high doses.
- Your dog may not begin to exhibit symptoms for up to 6 hours following their sinful indulgence.
- The kind of chocolate is crucial. For instance, dark chocolate has twice as much poison as milk chocolate. Bakers chocolate is three times as poisonous as dark chocolate, making it considerably more lethal.
How soon will a chocolate-eating dog become ill?
Dogs are particularly susceptible to the effects of theobromine because they do not absorb it in the same way that humans do. Theobromine is derived from cocoa beans, so as a general rule, the more cocoa solids there are in a chocolate product, the more theobromine there is.
Theobromine in chocolate is not the sole danger for dogs, though. Chocolate has a lot of fat and sugar, which can lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal if ignored.
Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs
Watch out for these symptoms if your dog has consumed any chocolate, even a small amount:
- unusual levels of hyperactivity
- an achy stomach region
- nausea or diarrhea
- more alcohol than normal
If your dog has consumed a lot of theobromine, the symptoms are more severe. These consist of:
- a pounding heart
- seizures, twitching, or tremors
- severe diarrhea or vomiting
- hastily panting
- Feels cozy
What to do if you think your dog has eaten chocolate
If you think your dog may have eaten chocolate, be on the lookout for the signs listed above. Chocolate poisoning symptoms may emerge within an hour, but they often appear between six and twelve hours after consumption. If you are aware that your dog has consumed chocolate, take action right away rather than waiting for symptoms to show.
If you have any worries regarding the health of your dogs, we always advise that you consult a veterinarian. Take the next actions:
- Find the packing if you can. This will reveal how much chocolate they’ve consumed as well as the type. Veterinarians can receive all of these facts.
- Make use of PawSquad. Customers of Direct Line pet insurance will get round-the-clock access to a veterinarian through PawSquad via live chat or video chatting. You can use the service free of charge from the convenience of your own home and get immediate answers to your inquiries from a veterinarian.
- Make a call to your veterinarian. Calling your veterinarian’s office is a good choice if you don’t have access to PawSquad. They’ll want to know what your dog ate, how much they ate, when they ate it, and if they have any symptoms so they can better advise you.
- Observe advice. A veterinarian frequently requests to see your dog. It can be risky to wait around for symptoms to show. The greatest strategy for flushing out toxins is to do so as soon as possible.
How are dogs treated for chocolate poisoning?
A dog will typically be given medication by a veterinarian to induce vomiting after consuming chocolate. To absorb the remaining theobromine and lessen the amount of poisons that enter the bloodstream, activated charcoal may also be administered.
Your dog may spend the day or night at the vet so they may be watched as charcoal can be administered every four to six hours. Additionally, your dog can receive a drip to assist detoxify the body and stabilize fluid and blood circulation. Your dog’s heart rate may be treated with other medications if it is fast or abnormal.
If your dog is shaking or experiencing a seizure, it might be terrifying for the owner. A veterinarian can respond swiftly to treat any poisoning symptoms. Dogs who have consumed chocolate typically recover within a day or two with appropriate treatment.
How to prevent your dog stealing food
Even the most well-behaved dogs might become tempted by the aroma of something appetizing. Here are some useful ways to avoid your dog obtaining food meant for someone else:
- Lock up your food. All food should be kept out of your pet’s reach, whether it be high up or behind a cabinet door. The majority of dogs have been trained to avoid kitchen counters, but they may be cunning when food is involved.
- Bins should be locked. A dog won’t think twice about searching through your trash cans. Make sure no bins are accessible or easily knocked over in the house or garden. Pick a trash can with a tight-fitting lid if your pet is persistent.
- Remind visitors. Not everyone who comes to your house will be accustomed to dogs. Without realizing it, they might leave food out for your dog to find or feed it with their hands, both of which could be dangerous to your pet.
- Be very cautious around Easter and Christmas. Dogs can easily consume leftover wrapped or boxed chocolate, and a trip to the veterinarian around the holidays is the last thing anyone wants. Due to the increased risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs around Christmas and Easter, take extra precaution to store any edible items securely:
Unfortunately, dogs shouldn’t merely avoid foods that include chocolate. Giving our pets the same food we eat is not something we should do lightly. The following foods are potentially toxic:
How long does it take a dog to exhibit poisoned symptoms?
The toxin will determine how long it takes for a dog to exhibit symptoms of poisoning. Some poisons result in immediate reactions, while others can produce symptoms hours or days later.
As an illustration, the initial signs of antifreeze poisoning can show up in as little as 30 minutes, whereas the signs of chocolate poisoning take between 6 and 12 hours to manifest. Despite the strength of anticoagulant rat poisons, dogs may not exhibit symptoms for 3–5 days after consumption.
How do you flush poison out of a dog’s system?
Unfortunately, owners can’t do much to treat pet poisoning at home. However, there are a few techniques that vets can employ to remove the toxin from a dog’s body. Veterinarians will take the following variables into account when developing a treatment plan for their patient:
- Which kind of poison was consumed?
- How much poison was consumed
- Size, breed, age, and medical history of the dog
- The dog’s level of hydration
- How long has it been since the dog ingested the poison?
The veterinarian will implement one or more of the following treatment methods after determining the type of toxin and the severity of the situation.
Fortunately, there are remedies for some of the more popular canine poisons, including ethylene glycol and anticoagulant rat poison (a toxic ingredient in some types of antifreeze).
A veterinarian may inject fomepizole, an intravenous antidote that prevents the breakdown of ethylene glycol and lowers the risk of organ damage, if it is determined that a dog has ingested a harmful amount of antifreeze. The bad news is that in addition to the antidote, the dog might also need hemodialysis as part of this expensive treatment. It’s also vital to note that this medication is less effective if taken more than 12 hours after consuming antifreeze.
A veterinarian will administer vitamin K1 to a dog if they think it may have swallowed an anticoagulant rodenticide since it will help the dog’s platelets function again. The majority of veterinarians will maintain vitamin K1 medication for several weeks because ACR rodenticides have a very long half-life.
The vets might be able to cause the dog to vomit in order to get the toxins out of its stomach if the dog is brought in quickly away. To be effective, vomiting must be induced between two and four hours after consumption, and even then, there is no assurance that the dog will be able to vomit up all the poisons.
Unfortunately, most poisoning cases are not discovered until the dog starts to exhibit symptoms. Inducing vomiting may also be ineffective by the time canines arrive at the veterinarian because symptoms may not appear for hours or even days.
In the same way, veterinarians won’t try to make a dog vomit up a caustic chemical (like bleach or drain cleaner) because doing so could further harm the dog’s esophagus.
Another first line of defense against canine poisoning is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is administered orally by veterinarians, where it binds with the poison and stops hazardous metabolites from entering the bloodstream. Dogs can safely consume activated charcoal, which will generally pass through their systems.
Another method used by vets to remove hazardous material from a dog’s stomach is gastric lavage, often known as stomach pumping. When forced vomiting is inefficient or counterproductive because of the substance consumed, veterinarians frequently use this method.
In order to eliminate as much of the stomach contents as possible, the veterinarian will continuously drain the stomach and rinse it with water during a gastric lavage treatment. This surgery is carried out while sedated. Activated charcoal is typically administered by veterinarians before the treatment is finished.
Severe gastrointestinal symptoms are a common sign of poisoning. Some dogs will need a bland food while they’re recovering to avoid putting too much stress on their digestive systems.
body receives filtered blood. Sadly, this treatment is expensive and not readily accessible.
Can dogs survive being poisoned?
Yes! Dogs can undoubtedly survive poisoning, but the likelihood of survival is highly influenced by the type of toxin, the amount the dog consumed, and how quickly the dog receives medical attention.
In general, dogs who receive treatment immediately and don’t consume a lot of a hazardous chemical have a better chance of surviving. Dogs may require weeks or months to recover from different types of poisoning, and even then, some dogs may have irreversible organ damage.
What should I do if I think my dog has been poisoned?
When it comes to poisoning, time is of the utmost, therefore it is advisable to be on the safe side and act fast rather than waiting it out. If you see your dog taking in a known toxin, get medical advice. Consult a veterinarian right once if your dog is unresponsive or displaying poisoning signs.
If you think your dog may have ingested something harmful, take the following actions:
To find out if you need to bring your dog in, get in touch with your vet or an emergency clinic right away.
To avoid other animals from ingesting the toxin, put a tiny bit of it in a jar and take it to the vet with you. The rest should be carefully disposed of. Bring any ingredient lists or identification labels that are present.
If the vet advises at-home monitoring, be careful to keep a close eye on your pet and bring them in if they exhibit any worrying symptoms like collapse, difficulty walking, discolored gums, or excessive vomiting.
Unless specifically told to do so by a veterinary professional, never attempt to induce vomiting or give milk or activated charcoal to a pet because this could make the situation worse.