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Can Dogs Eat Chocolate: Your Guide

Jordan Rubin | Nov 10, 2022

Everyone who has a dog knows that dogs love to share food with their humans. It can be tempting to give your dog a taste of all of the things that you are enjoying since they look at you so sweetly and lovingly when you are eating. However, there are some foods that you should never allow your dog to consume and one of the most talked about is chocolate.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Even if you have given your dog chocolate before and they didn’t become ill, you shouldn’t assume that your dog will always be so lucky. Chocolate is not a suitable snack for your dog for a variety of reasons that will be discussed in this article.

What Components of Chocolate Are Poisonous?

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs because it contains theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals are essentially identical, and they belong to a group of chemicals that dogs are sensitive to. These are really dangerous chemicals for your dog to ingest because it takes a while for them to be metabolized. This means that your pup can seem fine for a while after they eat chocolate but then suddenly start showing symptoms of poisoning.

When your dog ingests a very small amount of chocolate, they might not react very strongly. This is why some owners may incorrectly assume that their dog will not get sick when they eat chocolate. The dosing of these chemicals is key when considering the severity of toxicity in dogs. The size of your dog can also impact the amount of chocolate that is likely to cause a severe reaction. Smaller dogs will be much more likely to suffer a negative reaction to ingesting even a small amount of chocolate.

What Are the Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning?

Knowing the common symptoms of chocolate poisoning can be key to getting your dog the help they need right away. If you think your dog may have eaten chocolate, you should be on the lookout for the most common symptoms of this kind of poisoning below and contact your vet immediately. The most common symptoms that can be related to chocolate poisoning in dogs are:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Bloating
  • High heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive panting
  • Panic

And of course, the symptom that no owner ever wants to hear about, death. Depending on the quantity ingested, you may have a limited amount of time to get your dog the treatment that they need after eating chocolate.

Coffee dark candy chocolate

What Is the Treatment For Chocolate Poisoning?

The treatment for chocolate poisoning in dogs is usually the same. The main goal is to get the toxin out of your dog’s system. If your dog has just eaten chocolate, your veterinarian may induce vomiting, which could be enough to remove most of the chocolate from the body before it has even had a chance to break down. This is the most ideal situation when a dog has eaten chocolate. Your dog might only have to stay at the clinic for a few more hours on fluids to make sure they don’t suffer any ill effects or symptoms.

In the case of dogs that have ingested larger amounts of chocolate or if time has elapsed since the chocolate was ingested, more invasive treatment may be required. Your dog will be given activated charcoal powder as a first step. Charcoal can help bind together the chocolate toxins so that they cannot enter your dog’s bloodstream and cause negative reactions. Beta-blockers might be given to manage excessive heart rate, and your dog might be given diazepam for seizures or symptoms of panic.

The rest of the treatment protocol for dogs that are showing signs of poisoning is just time and patience. Your dog will be monitored as they progress through the first 24 hours after ingesting this toxin. If the treatment is successful, your dog will be able to come home with instructions from your vet on how to introduce regular food again.

Shallow focus photography of adult black and white border collie

How Much Does Chocolate Poisoning Treatment Cost?

The timing of your dog’s chocolate snack can have a big impact on the cost of treatment. If you can get to your vet quickly, you will probably have a bill that ranges from $500-$750. If your dog has fallen ill late at night or if the poisoning is very severe, your dog’s treatment could be thousands of dollars, especially if they end up needing care in an ICU.

Being prepared for the veterinary costs associated with something like accidental poisoning can be hard for many pet owners. It can be scary to hear that your beloved animal will need such expensive treatment, particularly if you do not have the savings available to pay for it. This is why pet insurance can be so valuable to the lifelong well-being of your dog or cat.

Pet insurance can be the perfect solution for times when an expensive vet bill crops up that you were not planning to have to pay. Get financial peace of mind related to your pet’s future medical expenses with Furkin Pet Health Insurance. Contact us or get a free quote today!