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What To Do
It is surprising how many dog owners do not know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Chocolate ingestion can be very common around the holidays as well as in homes that have children. Children have a tendency to want to share treats with their pets, and while they think they are being generous, they could make your dog very sick. If you came to this site thinking “my dog ate chocolate, what do I do now”, please continue reading.
There are a few different steps to treatment to help treat your dog’s chocolate poisoning. Some may be minor treatments, depending on the type of chocolate eaten and how much was consumed. You should always contact a veterinarian or animal poison control and follow proper procedures. However, there are some steps to take to ensure your dog rids the chocolate from his system.
What To Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate: 1st Step
The first step to treating chocolate poisoning is to collect some information before calling your veterinarian. Some things to note are:
- What kind of chocolate did your dog consume? Candy bar? Baking chocolate? White chocolate?
- What breed is your dog?
- How much does your dog weigh?
- Is there evidence around? This is helpful for chocolate bars. They usually show serving sizes in ounce on the packaging.
- Has your dog vomiting or had a bout of diarrhea?
- Roughly how long has it been since he consumed the chocolate?
- What kind of symptoms is your dog portraying?
The next step is to induce vomiting. This is recommended for the first few hours that your dog consumed chocolate. If it has been longer than 12 hours, you should not induce vomiting because it can cause damage to your dog’s esophagus.
The first way to induce vomiting in your dog is by using hydrogen peroxide. The dosage should be 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds. Hydrogen peroxide should take between 10-15 minutes to induce vomit. If your dog goes not vomit during this time, wait at least an hour before trying again.
You may also be able to use regular table salt for inducing vomiting. Try using 1-2 tablespoons per 10 pounds.
You should never induce vomiting if your dog is unconscious, has a slow heart rate, his stomach looks bloated or he is having seizures.
Activated is a black, tasteless, odorless powder that is non-toxic for your dog. It is called “activated” because the particles expand in your dog’s stomach, which makes the absorption capacity excellent for soaking up toxic substances. In this case, it will absorb the toxin known as theobromine from your dog’s system. Once your dog has been given activated charcoal, it stays in your dog’s stomach and binds to the toxin until it has all been absorbed. It is eliminated through your dog’s feces.
Activated charcoal should be given after your dog’s stomach has been emptied. Activated charcoal will help to soak up any residual poison in your dog’s stomach and help to prevent it from reaching the bloodstream. Activated charcoal is known to absorb around 60% of poisonous substances.
Activated charcoal is NOT the same as regular charcoal. You can find it at your local health food stores. It comes in tablet, kits, liquid form as well as powder form.
At The Vet
There is no antidote to chocolate poisoning in dogs. If your dog is taken to the veterinarian, they may give your dog a few different types of treatments. Some things your veterinarian may do during treatment include:
- IV fluids. These will help prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated because of diarrhea and vomiting. The fluids may also help to flush theobromine out of your dog’s system as well.
- Activated charcoal. This helps to soak any excess poisons in the stomach.
- Vomit-inducing medications. If you didn’t do this at home, your veterinarian will give your dog medical treatments to help induce vomiting before beginning treatment with charcoal and secondary medications as well.
- In more serious cases, your veterinarian may have to give your dog anti-seizure medications, as well as cardiac medications. These help to reduce the chances of seizures and regulate the heart rate from theobromine and caffeine.