How should you deal with chocolate poisoning in dogs?
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Halloween is a festive holiday. It brings lots of amusement, excitement, and much-anticipated candy. Kids and adults both enjoy eating overdosing on candy especially during the Halloween season. Excess of candy is bad for everyone, as it can lead to dental issues and stomach ache.
While humans can tolerate overdosing on chocolate, dogs simply cannot. Dogs and chocolate are a lethal combination. Consumption of even small doses of chocolate can lead to dire consequences for dogs.
We want our pets to enjoy the festive Halloween season, but they should be monitored continuously. Chocolate and other candy should not be placed within their reachable range. Veterinary centers from all across the country report an increase in the number of medical emergencies for pets during the Halloween season. Consumption of chocolate is one of the major reasons for that.
Let us take a look at the perils of chocolate poisoning in dogs around Halloween and what precautionary measures can be taken to reduce the risks.
Why is Chocolate Dangerous for Dogs?
- Chocolate, like caffeine, belongs to a class of plants called Methylated xanthine alkaloids. Food products belonging to this class of plant molecules act as stimulants. When a person consumes a product containing a stimulant, the central nervous system gets excited and goes into overdrive. Even caffeine alternatives can be dangerous, so it is best not to let your dogs get into anything that can stimulate the CNS.
As a result, heart rate and respiratory functions are increased and the body starts producing adrenaline at higher than normal quantities.
- Theobromine is the active component of chocolate and is responsible for the excitation of the nervous system. Humans can metabolize theobromine and it doesn’t affect them adversely even if consumed in large quantities. However, dogs metabolize theobromine at a much slower rate.
This leads to the gradual build of unprocessed theobromine in dogs’ systems. Accumulation of theobromine in a dog’s system is responsible for chocolate poisoning.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
The following symptoms are typically displayed by a dog if he is suffering from chocolate poisoning:
- Extreme Thirst
- Increased rate of breathing
- Muscle tension
- Excitement and hyperactivity
What To Do if My Dog Suffers From Chocolate Poisoning?
- The symptoms of food poisoning become apparent 6-12 hours post chocolate consumption. Your dog will start vomiting which is good as it will get some undigested chocolate out of their system. Take your dog to a vet if other symptoms persist.
A vet can be a better judge of your dog’s condition and will recommend a suitable treatment. Vets commonly treat chocolate poisoning by injecting dogs with IV drugs. The drug apomorphine is injected into the dog’s system.
- It forces the dog to vomit. Vets also pump the dog’s stomach to clear the stomach of its contents. Activated charcoal is given by the vets which prevent the spread of chocolate into the dog’s system.
If timely action is not taken, chocolate poisoning can prove to be fatal. We recommend you have a qualified and reliable vet onboard especially for the Halloween season. If you are residing in Charlottesville, VA, check out Autumn Trails Veterinary Center.
- They provide urgent medical care to all pets. Their trained staff is more than equipped to handle medical emergencies.
Is All Chocolate Bad for Dogs?
- A common rule of thumb is that the higher the concentration of cocoa, the more dangerous the chocolate is for the dog. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate have the highest levels of cocoa and hence should be avoided. Whereas milk chocolate and white chocolate have a lower percentage of cocoa and are relatively safer.
Some studies have concluded that even half an ounce of dark chocolate can be poisonous for a healthy 45-pound dog.