Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which can be poisonous to dogs and other animals because it cannot be broken down by their digestive systems.
However, certain types of chocolate are more toxic to dogs than others
Typically, darker chocolate contains more theobromine and is subsequently more likely to be harmful to a dog, according to Dr Reay. Baking chocolate and cocoa powder pose the highest health risks.According to DWK, white chocolate contains very little theobromine and is therefore unlikely to cause theobromine poisoning to dogs, however, it can still make your dog ill.
The weight of the dog and the amount of chocolate consumed also plays a part in the seriousness of the incident.
Although all dogs can get sick from eating chocolate, heavier dogs may experience lesser symptoms than smaller dogs from eating the same-size piece of chocolate.
According to the DWK , a “very concerning dose of chocolate is approximately one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight”.
How can you tell if your dog has been poisoned from chocolate?
Symptoms of concern for dog-owners can be anything from vomiting and diarrhoea to rapid breathing and seizures.
Because chocolate is a stimulant, it can also cause excitement and muscle twitching, as well as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Chocolate can also be fatal for dogs, so if you notice your dog has consumed chocolate, you should seek help immediately.
What should you do if your dog eats chocolate?
The first step if you notice your dog is displaying any of the symptoms above or has eaten chocolate is to call your veterinarian.
“If you have seen your pet eat something that they shouldn’t, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Call your vet immediately and ask for their advice,” Dr Reay advises. You should also “write down the details of anything you think your pet has ingested, when they ate/drank it, how much they have swallowed, and what symptoms they have been experiencing.”
Dependent on the size of your dog and the amount of chocolate consumed, your vet may suggest closely monitoring your pet.
If your dog is reacting badly to chocolate consumption, your vet may induce vomiting and give the dog activated charcoal to move the toxins out of the body. More serious measures such as medications or IV fluids may also be required.
To ensure your dog has a happy and healthy Easter, make sure that you keep all chocolate stored where your dog cannot reach.