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Vets say that chocolate is one of the most frequent causes of dog poisoning.

Many elements influence how well your pet will handle chocolate consumption to include their current state of health, age, and breed.

WHAT DO YOU DO? 

If you think your dog has eaten chocolate, call your vet immediately. If your vet is closed, find an emergency pet hospital to call. 

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Depending on the size of your dog, the type of chocolate he ate, and how much he ate, your vet may suggest you watch for symptoms rather than bring him in straight away.

But your vet may also ask you to bring your dog in for examination.

If you take your dog in for examination, save whatever evidence you can (like the wrapper or container).

If you don’t have that, take a picture of the evidence (if there’s any left), or make a note of how much you estimate your dog ate to help your vet figure out if your pet is in the danger zone.

If it’s been less than 2 hours since your dog at the chocolate, your vet might decide it’s best to force your pet to throw it up.

Typically the vet will also administer something to absorb any remaining poison in your pet’s system. 

If your situation is critical, your dog may require additional treatment like fluids, medicine, or an overnight stay.

CHOCOLATE POISONING SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning typically manifest about 6-12 hours after your pup has scarfed it down.

They can continue for up to 3 days and appear as any of the following:

  • vomiting
  • peeing more frequently
  • diarrhea
  • agitation
  • increased heart rate
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • death

These can be displayed in different ways. For instance, an agitated dog may run around like he’s having a burst of energy.

WHY IS CHOCOLATE POISONOUS FOR DOGS?

Chocolate has compounds in it called methylxanthines, specifically caffeine and theobromine.

People metabolize these relatively well, though some people have issues with them. But dogs can’t process them as quickly as we can.

When a dog eats chocolate, the caffeine and theobromine will attach itself to your dog’s cells.

This prevents needed compounds from attaching to those cells which subsequently causes malfunctions in your dog’s health.

HOW MUCH CHOCOLATE IS HARMFUL?

It depends on the type of chocolate your dog ate, how much your dog ate, and how big your dog is.

An online chocolate toxicity calculator is a helpful way to determine if your dog is in the danger zone. But a large amount can kill your pet.

A good comparison is when a human drinks alcohol. If your beverage has a high percentage of alcohol, you’ll get drunk faster (a mild form of poisoning).

The more you drink, the more drunk you get. And the more you weigh, the more alcohol you can handle.

They type of chocoloate your dog ate will indicate how much theobromine was in it.

The purer the chocolate, the more harmful it is to your pet. Bitter chocolate and cocoa powder have the most theobromine while white chocolate has the least. 

Of course the more your dog eats, the more dangerous the situation is.

And the smaller your dog is, the less chocolate it takes to harm him or her.  As little as 4oz of milk chocolate can be enough to kill a small dog. 

You can find some chocolate toxicity calculators here and here.

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