As a pet owner you must have stumbled across hundreds of blogs describing the dangers of offering chocolates to your canines. However, sometimes the results might be a bit different than what you have heard or read.
So, if recently your dog ate chocolate but is acting fine, then it is because the quantity was fairly less. Many-a-times, there are a myriad of subtle side effects that could go unnoticed when a dog is offered small chocolate samples. These include shaking heads, panting more than normal or increased thirst and urination. Therefore, if you are thinking that your fur baby is not showing any side effects and hence is okay with chocolate consumption, then you are completely WRONG.
Why is Chocolate so bad for dogs?
Toxicity due to chocolate happens due to two of its core components- Caffeine and Theobromine. While the former is a famous stimulant, the latter is known for its diuretic properties and therefore when ingested by the pup can cause frequent urination and heightened heart racing. These conditions eventually grow into serious side effects, making the food item quite dangerous for canines’ consumption.
Furthermore, the extreme sweetness in chocolates increases the risk of diabetes in dogs, as well as puts a strain on their normal kidney and liver functioning. Some dogs may also have nasty seizures, ending up in the vet’s clinic as emergency cases after consuming chocolates.
All of these factors happen, because unlike our bodies, a dog’s digestive system is not cut out for absorbing such components. Thus, the longer it takes for the materials to either be metabolized or to be ejected out of their system, the more painfully excruciating the symptoms are.
What are the health risks associated with chocolate consumption in canines?
Depending upon the quantity of chocolate ingested, the symptoms of chocolate toxicity can vary from mild to severe. In mild cases, the dogs will often exhibit:
- Paced walking all around the house
- Frequent and uncontrolled urination
- Extreme thirst
- Restlessness, etc.
However, if the dog has had a huge piece of a chocolate bar, then they will most definitely show:
- Muscle tremors
- Uncoordinated movement
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea (with blood spots in most cases)
- Hyperactivity with no recognition of its immediate surroundings
- Multiple organ failure
- Extreme feverish body
Usually these symptoms show within 6-12 hours after the ingestion, but if unlucky the fur baby may get really sick within just an hour. This is why vets advise pawrents to immediately seek professional help if they suspect their pooches to have consumed chocolate or related food items.
Then, why is my dog acting fine?
The catch here is that with chocolate poisoning, you never know when the situation can become worse. Thus, even when the pup may seem to be doing absolutely fine, they could show severe repercussions in a few hours. Therefore, if you doubt that the pup has recently ingested even the tiniest bits of the tasty food item, it is better to have them checked by the vet.
When taken to a clinic, the vet will give them a thorough examination. From simple blood tests to urine sampling, the professional will do everything possible and permitted by the owner to find the amount of chocolate ingested by the canine.
Once done, they will then induce regurgitation through medicated procedures so that the components are efficiently removed from their tiny bodies. Based upon the threat level, the doctor may also do an endoscopic retrieval of any suspended chocolate pieces or flush their stomach empty with warm water and drugs. This usually requires the pooch to stay at the vet’s clinic for a while and hence can be pretty expensive based upon the after-care charges.
Now that we have covered pretty much everything there is to know about chocolate consumption in canines, here are the top Frequently Asked Questions related to the same that you should know.
Is the type of chocolate relevant?
Yes, it is. With darker chocolate arriving with higher amounts of theobromine and caffeine, this particular type is comparatively much more toxic for canines than other normal ones.
In general, milk or white chocolates consist of a lesser amount of the two toxic components. However, this doesn’t qualify them as safer substitutes and thus no pet parent should ever administer the food item to their beloved fur babies.
Does the size of my dog matter?
Indeed it does. The size of the dog plays a major role in finding out if or not they will be symptomatic after consuming chocolate. But this is only possible if you know exactly how much they have ingested.
For instance, if your German Shepherd has devoured a 2 ounce chocolate bar, then he/she may show either subtle or no signs at all. But if a Toy Pomeranian eats up 2 ounces of chocolate, then the pup will become very sick which may lead to multiple organ failure and even demise.
As per studies, extreme effects of chocolate consumption happens when the dose reaches 0.3 to 2 ounces per pound of weight. So, there is a high chance that the canine may not have to go through surgical methods if the consumption amount is lower than this limit. But, nonetheless seeking immediate vet consultation is hands down the best option in such cases.
Can I treat my Dog at Home after eating chocolate?
Although, it is never a good option to try and make the pup vomit without a vet’s presence, there could be circumstances when professional help might not be available. And in such cases only, home remedies can be implemented, but given that the vet has green-flagged for the approach.
Usually, the best bet here is to use the right dosage of Hydrogen Peroxide 3-percent solution as per the canine’s weight. Pet parents can administer 1 teaspoon (5ml) of the liquid solution per 10lbs of weight to induce vomiting, after which they will need to wait for at least 10-15 minutes.
Given the mild antiseptic properties of the liquid, the dog will throw up everything that it has consumed, including the chocolate pieces. But, in case the pooch doesn’t throw up on its own, a second dosage might be required.
NOTE- Always remember that home remedies like administration of Hydrogen Peroxide 3-percent solution should only be done when immediate vet access is not possible. Furthermore, the pup should be taken to the vet, no matter if it has thrown up all contents or not, for a detailed examination.
Will my dog die after consuming chocolate?
When you follow proper steps and seek immediate vet assistance, the pup won’t suffer much from the adversities of chocolate toxicosis. Although it might take a day or two for the canine to bounce back to their former glory, treatment at the right time can do wonders in reversing the side effects within their tiny bodies.
But if ignored, the pup will become extremely uncomfortable, showing signs of various ailments. The pup will feel insatiably thirsty, pace around, lose coordination when walking, have bloody diarrhea and repeated vomits, followed by multiple organ failure and finally death.
NOTE- Never and I repeat NEVER delay a vet visit if you suspect that your dog might have consumed chocolate or other cocoa and caffeine related products. The side effects are reversible when treated at the right time and with the right diagnosis.
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