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My dog has eaten chocolate, what should I do?

Chocolate 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 theobromine 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.

If your dog has eaten chocolate, you may see:

   vomiting (may include blood)
restlessness and hyperactivity
rapid breathing
muscle tension, incoordination
increased heart rate


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.

With early 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)


Chocolate 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 the dog had life threatening chocolate (theobromine) poisoning

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 dangerous.  

Rachel 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 symptoms subsided.

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.


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