07 Jul World Chocolate Day – A Warning for Dog Owners About Chocolate Poisoning
Happy World Chocolate Day! Just one of many holidays our staff here at Mountainside Animal Hospital like to celebrate with an array of sweet snacks (Birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, need we go on?)
However, having chocolate around pets, especially young ones or those who like to be extra curious, comes with its own risks. Consequently, chocolate ingestion is one of the more common emergencies we see here in hospital.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains two substances they cannot metabolize or break down as quickly as we humans can. Caffeine and theobromine occur in high amounts in darker chocolates where more cocoa solids are used. Therefore, baking chocolate and dark chocolate are much more likely to be toxic to dogs than white chocolate.
The effect of chocolate toxicity can vary depending on the size of dog, how much and what type of chocolate they ate. Even a tiny amount can be harmful and may cause them to experience diarrhea, vomiting, excessive drooling, agitation and a racing heart vrate. If left untreated, or in worsening cases, chocolate toxicity may cause muscle tremors, seizures, collapse, cardiac failure or even death.
If your dog ever eats chocolate, as with any emergency, it is best to get hem professional veterinary aid as soon as possible. We recommend you call our emergency line on 604-973-1247, or the 24hr ASPCA Animal Poison Hotline on 888-426-4435.
It really helps our team work quickly if you know how much your dog weighs, how much chocolate you think they ate, what type of chocolate it is and around what time they ate it. Sometimes our staff might ask for a photograph of the chocolate packet to help provide our medical team with as much information as possible.
If your dog then needs medical care, one of our veterinary doctors will discuss the next steps of treatment with you. Treatment can vary from safely inducing vomiting and providing a toxin-absorbing meal, to intensive monitoring, administering IV fluids and overnight care in more severe cases.
We understand that accidents happen, even some of our own staff pets have stolen the odd chocolate snack. However, we all try to take as many precautions as we can to keep our furry little families safe and we hope you’ll do the same.
Being diligent to store chocolate in sealed containers, high up inside cupboards or kept safely elsewhere out of reach helps to prevent any accidents from this sweet treat being sniffed out. During holidays, where friends and family (especially young ones) might be careless, it can be safer to keep your pets in a different part of the house until you know that the coast is clear and that it’s safe for them.
And remember that responsible pet ownership includes considering buying pet insurance to help with any unexpected emergency costs.