We have all heard that ‘chocolate is bad for dogs’ but how many of us know what the signs of chocolate toxicity in our furry friends are? As we approach Easter and the chocolate starts flooding in we need to be extra careful that this delicious treat stays well out of reach of our pets.
Chocolate contains a stimulant called THEOBROMINE by which humans are relatively unaffected. Dogs and cats however, metabolise it a lot slower and therefore are much more susceptible to toxicity. Theobromine affects the nervous system and cardiovascular system. Signs of chocolate toxicity include but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
Seizures can be severe and require anaesthesia. In some cases, the seizures and increased heart rate can lead to death. Another potential effect of chocolate is pancreatitis which is inflammation of the pancreas. It is a painful condition resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting and unwillingness to eat.
Does the type of chocolate matter?
Short answer – yes! Dark and baking chocolate have the highest concentration of theobromine thus only a very small amount can cause toxicity. Milk chocolate contains moderate amounts and white chocolate very little. Chocolate toxicity is seen mainly after ingestion of baking chocolate, dark chocolate or milk chocolate.
What should I do if I think my dog has eaten chocolate?
Please call us and we will advise. Ideally, we would like to know when, how much and what type of chocolate your dog has eaten. Generally, if the chocolate has been consumed within the last 2 hours we will make your dog vomit and administer some activated charcoal to prevent as much absorption as possible. If greater than 2 hours we will provide supportive therapy (fluids, sedation, pain relief) as there IS NO ANTIDOTE FOR CHOCOLATE TOXICITY.
Prevention is always better than cure so as we all enjoy our eggs and bunnies this Easter and chocolate year-round, it is always prudent to keep this tasty treat well out of our furry friend’s paws!!