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Your Guide to Chocolate Toxicity

dreamstime_xxl_18047550 (1)Candy is the name of the game on Halloween, which makes it the perfect time to go over chocolate toxicity in dogs.

Although every holiday is full of sugary treats, nothing can compare to the candy on Halloween. Whether you get candy corn, a Snickers bar or Swedish Fish on your trick-or-treating adventures, you should never give any of it to your dog. While all candy could be dangerous for your dog to consume, there are some types of candy that can be deadly for your dog, and today, our veterinarian in Levittown is going to discuss the most common, which is chocolate. So, without further ado, here is your guide to chocolate toxicity in dogs:

How much can your dog safely eat?

One of the most common questions we hear from dog owners is, “How much chocolate is too much chocolate?”. Knowing how much chocolate your dog has eaten isn’t always possible, but when you have that information, it can be very helpful. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more serious the situation is. Chocolate that is dark, bitter and designed for baking could be up to eight times more toxic than milk chocolate. White chocolate naturally contains very little of the toxic chemical, theobromine, which makes it much safer. However, some white chocolate brands do inject theobromine, so it could be just as dangerous as dark chocolate.

While it’s helpful to know that some types of chocolate are less toxic than others, you should never take a chance when your dog eats chocolate. Regardless of how much chocolate your dog eats, it’s always best to, at the very least, call your veterinarian.

How does chocolate affect dogs?

The signs of low-grade poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Panting
  • Restless
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased Heart Rate

The signs of more severe poisoning include:

  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Theobromine has a long half-life, so it could take hours or even days for more serious symptoms to develop. Never assume that your pet is okay after ingesting chocolate just because you don’t see any symptoms.

What should you do if your dog ingests chocolate?

If you believe that your dog has ingested chocolate, get them to our veterinary clinic in Levittown immediately. If the chocolate is still in your dog’s stomach, inducing vomiting can be an effective solution that can be done quickly and is affordable and safe. You can usually induce vomiting within an hour of the chocolate consumption. If it has been more than an hour since your dog consumed chocolate, it’s important to seek treatment ASAP. Your vet will probably keep your dog over night, give them fluids and monitor them for heart problems or seizures. Luckily, when treatment is started early, chocolate toxicity is rarely fatal.

Dogs are incredibly curious creatures with a strong sense of smell. If you have chocolate or other candies in the house, make sure that you keep them far away from your pup on Halloween and every other day of the year. Have a fun and safe Halloween, and please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about chocolate toxicity in dogs!

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