Chocolate poisoning – how to help your pet
Chocolate contains a stimulant called Theobromine (similar to caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs. The amount of Theobromine differs in the different types of chocolate (dark chocolate has the most in it and white chocolate has very little).
What does Theobromine do and what symptoms will I see?
Theobromine mainly affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms will occur from 4-24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate and will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (Theobromine) your dog has eaten.
If your dog has eaten chocolate, you may see the following symptoms, your dog is likely to have worse symptoms the more chocolate they have eaten and eating large amounts can prove fatal:
• Vomiting (possibly including blood)
• Hyperactivity and restlessness
• Rapid breathing
• Muscle twitching
• Increased heart rate
• Seizures / fitting
If your dog has eaten any chocolate contact your Vet as quickly as possible with as much information as you can about how much they have eaten and the type of chocolate consumed. Preserve wrappers and remains of the chocolate and take them with you to the Surgery.
There is no antidote to Theobromine. In most cases of chocolate poisoning, your vet will initially make your dog vomit, wash out their stomach and then feed them activated charcoal to absorb any Theobromine left in the intestine.
(Please note that not all pets react the same way to poisoning and some appear to tolerate grapes, raisins and chocolate with no apparent ill- effects – there is no way to predict the effect these foods will have on your dog and so it is always best to avoid them)