Finding out that your dog has just eaten some chocolate can be pretty frightening, especially if they are also starting to show signs of illness. In times of emergency the best thing that dog owners can do is have a step by step plan in place for if a dog eats chocolate.
Knowing exactly what to do during an emergency like a dog showing signs of chocolate poisoning could potentially save a dog’s life. This is because instead of panicking on looking up what to do during the emergency, you can instead act quickly to get your pet to safety.
In this article we will be explaining what dog owners should do if their dog has eaten some chocolate. We will also be explaining why chocolate can be so dangerous to dogs and what the signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs are. Alright, let’s jump into it.
Why Is Chocolate Dangerous For Dogs?
Chocolate is dangerous to dogs because it contains two compounds: caffeine and theobromine. Mainly theobromine is the agent that causes poisoning in dogs when a dog eats chocolate. Poisoning occurs in dogs because their bodies cannot process things like theobromine and caffeine as quickly as humans can.
This means that these toxic compounds tend to sit in a dog’s system, causing poisoning, while a human’s body just filters them out of their system.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Chocolate?
Just because your dog isn’t showing signs of poisoning after eating chocolate doesn’t mean that it cannot develop later. Therefore, you should still follow some emergency steps even if your dog isn’t acting sick after eating chocolate.
Here are four simple steps that you should follow if your dog ingests this toxic sweet treat.
Step One: Asses The Situation
Take a look at your dog and their surroundings. Take note of if they are exhibiting any strange symptoms, what kind of chocolate they have eaten, and what kind. This will be important because this information is crucial for the vet to properly analyze the situation over the phone.
Step Two: Quickly Write Some Key Information Down
It can be helpful to quickly write down some key information just before calling the vet. This way you do not need to scramble for information that they will need. Write this list of information down before calling your vet:
- Your pet’s weight (approximate is ok)
- What kind of chocolate they have eaten (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, baker’s chocolate, etc). Knowing the percent of cocoa in the chocolate can also be helpful
- How much chocolate that your dog has eaten
- How long ago your dog has eaten chocolate ( if known)
- List any unusual symptoms that your dog is exhibiting (if any)
Knowing your dog’s weight is important because chocolate tends to be more toxic the smaller the dog is. Therefore, it takes much less chocolate to potentially poison a dog the size of a Chihuahua than for a dog the size of a Great Dane.
Similarly, the more cocoa that is in chocolate the more dangerous it is to dogs. This makes dark chocolate and cooking chocolate more dangerous than milk chocolate.
Step Three: Call Your Vet
The next step is to call your vet with the information that you have gathered. This way your vet will be able to assess the situation and determine if it is a medical emergency or not. They will then give you important information and give you instructions as to what to do next.
Step Four: Follow Your Vet’s Instructions
Your vet could give you different instructions during the phone call depending on your dog’s situation. If the vet has deemed the situation to not be an emergency, they will likely just instruct you to monitor your pet closely. However, they may have you perform some emergency pet CPR if the situation is very serious. Whatever your vet’s instructions may be, it is important that you follow them exactly.
How Long Can It Take For Dogs To Show Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning?
Dogs will not likely show signs of chocolate poisoning right after they have eaten chocolate. This is because the toxic compounds have not had time to affect the dog yet. In fact, it could take as long as 6 to 12 hours for the symptoms of chocolate poisoning to start in dogs. This is why calling your vet as soon as possible after your dog has eaten chocolate is so important.
Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs
Poisoning from chocolate in dogs is considered to be a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. As a result, it is important for dog owners to know the signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs. This gives dog owners more insight as to if their dog is having a medical emergency after eating chocolate or not.
Here are the most common signs of chocolate poisoning to look out for in dogs.
- Frequent urination
- Excessive panting
- Obsessive behaviors such as pacing or circling
- Increased heart rate
- Abnormal heart beats
- Increased breathing rate
- Muscle spasms and tremors
- Having difficulties with standing and walking
What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Showing Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning?
The steps for what you should do if your dog is showing signs of chocolate poisoning are very similar to those for what to do if your dog has just eaten chocolate and is not showing any signs of poisoning. However, the situation is much more serious if your pet is showing signs of poisoning. Here is what you should do if your dog is showing signs of chocolate poisoning.
Step One Quickly Asses The Situation
Like we have mentioned earlier in this article, it is important to have at least some idea about your dog’s situation. It is important to know the following information before moving on to step two.
- Your dog’s weight
- How much chocolate they have eaten and what kind
- The symptoms of chocolate poisoning that your dog is showing
Providing your vet or the poison hotline representative with this information will help them to give you the proper instructions.
Step Two: Call Your Emergency Vet Or Poison Hotline
The next step is to either call your emergency vet or a poison hotline. Use whichever one will respond more quickly and provide them with the information from step one.
Step Three Follow Their Instructions Exactly
The vet will then give you instructions as to what to do next. As we have mentioned previously, it is crucial that you follow their instructions exactly no matter what they may be.