3 Things To Do Immediately After Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Posted on: 21 October 2015

Do you have a dog in the house? Do you also enjoy food made from chocolate? While you may love both your dog and your sweets, the combination of the two can be fatal. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is a stimulant much like caffeine. Theobromine affects a dog's heart, kidneys, and nervous system, thus making them sick, and in some cases, even causing death. You'll want to call a vet, like All Care Pet Hospital of Harbour Point, as soon as you notice that your dog has ingested chocolate. However, to give you the best instruction, your vet will need some information. Here are a few tips to manage the situation so you can get the best care possible for your furry friend:

Get the chocolate away from the dog. The first thing you should do is prevent the dog from ingesting any more chocolate. If you catch the dog in the middle of eating the chocolate goodies, remove the remaining food as quickly as possible. However, even after you remove the remaining chocolate, there's still more work you'll need to do. Your dog probably has chocolate in the fur around his or her mouth. Get a wet rag and a brush and wash that chocolate out of his or her fur. Also, he or she may have chocolate on the teeth. If the dog will let you, try to use a wet toothbrush to clean the chocolate out of his or her mouth.

Determine how much and what type of chocolate the dog ate. Different types of chocolate contain different levels of theobromine. White chocolate has minimal amounts and is unlikely to cause serious problems. However, the darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of the toxic ingredient. Dark chocolate has high levels and cocoa and baking chocolate powder have extremely high levels.

Also, the quantity is important, especially relative to the size of the dog. A couple of small pieces of light milk chocolate may not be serious for a large Labrador retriever, but it could be unfavorable to a small toy poodle. Use the remaining chocolate and the information on the packaging to determine how much chocolate has actually been ingested. Your vet can use that information to give you advice.

Watch for symptoms. When you call the vet, he or she will likely want to know how the animal is behaving. It's important to note that symptoms can show up hours or even a day or so after the chocolate was ingested, so keep a close eye on your dog.