With Easter fast approaching we start thinking about the increased risks of chocolate poisoning in dogs at this time of year.
Dogs are very sensitive to Theobromine, the active ingredient in chocolate. Dogs are over 3 times more sensitive to Theobromine than humans. They generally have a lower body weight than us, and a big appetite for sweet things so are easily at risk. Cats are even more sensitive but thankfully they aren’t as attracted to chocolate as dogs are.
What Happens If My Pet Eats Chocolate?
Mild toxicity can cause vomiting and diarrhoea whilst larger doses can cause convulsions and even death. The effects can take effect within a few hours and there is no antidote. Treatment includes making them sick as quickly as possible, giving absorbents, IV fluid and anticonvulsants if seizuring.
Theobromine is present in larger quantities in darker chocolates. Cooking chocolate, cocoa powder and dark chocolate are the most dangerous.
Key Points To Remember This Easter
Vet Paul Revell, shares some key points to remember:
- It’s not uncommon for dogs to eat a 1kg or more, particularly at Easter and Christmas.
- White chocolate is much less risky but not zero risk.
- Speed is of the essence. If we can make them sick within 1 hour of swallowing the chocolate then we can greatly reduce the amount they absorb.
- Theobromine stays in the blood for some time so a little bit of chocolate regularly as a treat can add up to toxic levels.
- Other than the Theobromine, chocolate contains larges amount of fat and sugar which can trigger pancreatitis in susceptible dogs.
It’s best not to give your pets any chocolate. Keep it completely out of reach and enjoy it yourself!