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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Poisoning, Chocolate View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition

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Condition Overview

Most dogs like chocolate, but it can be dangerous. Chocolate contains methylxanthines (made up of caffeine and the alkaloid theobromine). Methylxanthines are not toxic to people in the concentrations found in candy and baked goods, but when ingested by dogs, the effects can be lethal.

Symptoms

Signs of chocolate toxicity occur within hours after the dog ingests the chocolate. They include hyperexcitability, vomiting, frequent urination, diarrhea, rapid breathing, weakness, seizures, and coma. Death is rare, and occurs by cardiac arrest.

Causes

This is caused by a dog eating chocolate foods.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be made by examining physical symptoms or finding the evidence to identify the consumption of chocolate.

Treatment

If you know your dog has eaten chocolate within the passed 6 hours and he has not already vomited, induce vomiting. To induce vomiting to prevent poison absorption give the dog hydrogen peroxide. A 3% solution is most effective. Give 1 teaspoon (5ml) per 10 pounds (4.5kg) of body weight. Repeat every 15 - 20 minutes, up to 3 times, until the dog vomits. Walking the dog after each dose may help stimulate vomiting.

Record the type and amount of chocolate ingested (sweet and semi-sweet chocolate in candy bars is not nearly as toxic as baking chocolate). Then call your veterinarian for further instructions.

Prevention

Use commercial dog products as treats. keep all chocolate stored securely to prevent accidental ingestion. Make sure everyone in your house, especially the children, understand that chocolate is dangerous for dogs.

Support

Contact your veterinarian for detailed instructions or call on of the poison hotlines listed below:

  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (fee)
  • Angell Animal Poison Control Hotline 1-877-226-4355
  • Animal Poison Hotline operated by the North Shore Animal League and PROSAR International Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-232-8870

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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