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What should I do if my pet eats chocolate?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

If you suspect your dog may have eaten any type of chocolate always call your vet immediately for advice. Let them know which type of chocolate it is, how much you think they may have eaten, and preferably keep any packaging that might help the vet determine what has been consumed.

Chocolate contains theobromine which cannot be metabolised by dogs and is therefore highly toxic with potentially fatal side effects if not treated quickly.

Dark chocolate can be highly toxic even in small amounts

Knowing the type of chocolate can help to determine the seriousness of the amount eaten. Dark chocolate can be highly toxic if eaten even in small amounts. Milk chocolate has much lower levels of theobromine and is therefore less dangerous in small amounts, but this completely depends on the size of the dog. Small dogs are particularly vulnerable to toxicity from small amounts. White chocolate contains very little theobromine and is less likely to cause effects, however it is full of sugar, which has its own negative side effects, and still should not be fed to your dog under any circumstances.

Keep chocolate and sweets out of reach 

With Easter upon us and our houses fill with chocolate eggs and treats, it is important that everyone in the family is aware of the dangers and keeps their goodies well out of pets’ reach. Dogs can sniff out chocolate, rip off the packaging and devour it in no time at all.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, abnormal heart rhythms, increased body temperature, tremors, seizures and respiratory failure. Chocolate poisoning at its very worst can result in death from heart attacks, seizures, coma or respiratory failure.

Call your vet

All veterinary practices have a 24 hour emergency service so if, despite all your efforts, your dog does get hold of your chocolate and eat it, please call the emergency number straight away for advice. If you are a Highcroft client, remember the Hospital has a veterinary team onsite 24 hours a day – call 01275 832410.

On a brighter note, may we wish you and your pets a very Happy Easter!


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