Poisoning in Dogs (Theobromine Poisoning)
Chocolate is poisonous in sufficient dosages
to pets, commonly dogs, but it can also cause poisoning in other
pets such as cats and birds.
Chocolate contains caffeine and
which are methylxanthines and can be toxic. The darker the
chocolate, the more of these substances it contains.
Only a small amount of chocolate can cause
chocolate poisoning or theobromine
poisoning in pets. The smaller the pet, the less chocolate it
takes to cause poisoning.
What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?
If you think your dog has consumed chocolate, please contact
your vet as soon as possible.
Theobromine may increase your dog’s
heart rate or cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is
quite possible, especially with exercise, so keep your pet quiet/disencourage
movement. Chocolate toxicity is much easier to treat the earlier
it is seen to. If you know, let your vet know how much
chocolate your dog has eaten, what type it was (wrappers can be
very helpful if you have them) and when it was eaten. This will
allow them to work out whether your dog has eaten toxic levels
or not and what treatment will be needed.
What can I do to prevent chocolate toxicity in dogs
Do not feed dogs chocolate, or any foods containing chocolate
Keep chocolate and foods
containing chocolate, out of reach of your dog
Take extra care at times like
Easter to ensure your dog does not have access to chocolate
There is no antidote to theobromine. In most cases your vet
will make your dog vomit and wash out the stomach. Activated
charcoal may be fed which will absorb any theobromine left in
the intestine. Other treatments will depend on the signs your
dog is showing - they may need IV fluids (a drip), medication to
control heart rate, blood pressure and seizure activity.
intervention and treatment even in dogs that have eaten large
amounts of chocolate can recover, but don’t leave it too late!
(This information should not replace the advice of your vet)
toxicity is one of the most common dog poisonings over
Easter; please be careful what you do with all those
chocolate goodies this year!
Our friends at
Pet-n-Sur share Bella's real
life story about the dangers of chocolate with pets -
and the warning signs to look out for.
Bella, a four-year-old Silky Terrier, was a healthy and
happy dog. Most terriers are considered cheeky &
inquisitive, and Bella was no exception – so when it
came to chocolate her owner Rachel was always sure to
keep it out of reach. However, last Easter the family
had Grandma Joan staying with them. Without realising
what she could be doing, she decided to hide some Easter
eggs around the house for her grandkids to find while
Rachel & the kids were out. When they came home, Rachel
sensed something strange: no greeting at the door.
Worried, she went looking
for Bella and discovered chewed-up foil wrapping on the
floor – the remains of Easter eggs. Bella had decided
to go on her own hunt for the Easter eggs, and half of
them were missing. Rachel found Bella standing up in
the bedroom, looking shaky and restless. The 4.5kg
terrier had consumed a large handful of Easter eggs, of
all sorts of varieties, and the amount she consumed was
immediately called the vet and they advised she bring
Bella in immediately. She didn’t know exactly what was
in the eggs Bella ate, but since Bella was already
exhibiting nervous symptoms, it was clear that the
theobromines had already entered Bella's system. The
vet had to get her to vomit any residual chocolate and
give her activated charcoal to help neutralize what was
in her intestines. They also had to control any
seizures, monitor her heart, start IV fluid therapy and
observe little Bella for at least 24 hours until the
Luckily, Bella’s Easter hunt
was discovered and treated just in time. She went back
home the next evening, and Grandma Joan now knows to be
careful with her Easter hunt plans for the kids!
Pet-n-Sur took away the financial stress at a time when
the family were worried, wanting nothing more than to
make sure Bella was going to be OK. Rachel was able to
whisk Bella to the vet right away and tell them to do
whatever they could, not concerned with the cost.
If you would like peace & mind for your furbaby,
click here to get a free quote from Pet-n-Sur
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