Dogs are attracted to things they think are unique or anything which smells or looks weird. Dogs go with the thought of ‘if I see it, I will eat it’, and sometimes this thought gets them in trouble.
They eat all sorts of things, including inedible or toxic things that lead to severe health issues. One such substance is chocolate, humans love to eat it, but it is very toxic to dogs and can even be fatal.
In this read, we will discuss how dangerous it is for dogs to eat chocolate-made products, such as chocolate chip cookies, common symptoms in dogs for chocolate poisoning, and what you should do in such emergencies.
Let us begin the article by understanding the danger of chocolate in dogs.
Understanding the Danger of Chocolate for Dogs
Chocolates pose an actual danger for dogs. Dogs are unable to process chocolates through their digestive system and make enzymes by breaking them down.
Chocolate is made up of a substance called theobromine which is toxic to dogs. This theobromine lasts very long in the body as a dog’s digestive system is unable to digest it, and the longer it stays in the body, the more damage it does to a dog’s body.
Although different kinds of chocolates have different reactions to dogs, the more the amount of cacao, the more harm it does. But no kind of chocolate is safer; every chocolate has its share of toxicity.
7 Common Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
The presence of theobromine in chocolates is very harmful to dogs, and consuming it can cause chocolate poisoning in dogs, leading to severe health issues that can be fatal.
Let us look at some common symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs.
- Vomiting: If the dog is frequently vomiting, it’s a sign it might have had chocolate or any inedible substance.
- Drooling: Excessive drooling is a sign that something is wrong; if drooling suddenly exceeds, chocolate ingestion might be one reason.
- Diarrhea: If diarrhea happens once, it’s nothing to worry about, but if it is recurring, then it might be a sign of poisoning.
- Extreme thirst: Dogs look for water if they are developing poisoning signs, keep fresh water available for dogs and contact your vet.
Other signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs are:
- Increased Urination or smell in urination
- Excessive Panting
If any or majority of these symptoms occur, please contact your veterinarian or your local pest poison control helpline.
My Dog Ate a Chocolate Chip Cookie – What to Do?
If your dog has eaten a chocolate chip cookie, it is not a good sight as they may soon get ill. Follow the following steps if your dog has eaten a chocolate chip cookie.
- Get rid of the remaining chocolate crumbs or the remains of whatever chocolate product your dog has eaten to prevent any more consumption
- Assess the amount of chocolate ingested by your dog, the number of cookies, or the amount of cake, whatever chocolate product has been consumed, and note it for further reference, which will help your vet run a diagnosis
- Contact your veterinarian and let them know of the incident with all the details like:
- The amount of chocolate your dog has eaten
- The type of chocolate
- The cocoa content, if it is listed in the packaging
- Other ingredients present in the chocolate product
Once your veterinarian has all the details, they will examine the toxicity and call your dog for a visit or instruct you to observe for any symptoms or further steps to be taken. Note them carefully and follow them precisely.
How Many Chocolate Chips does it Take to Hurt a Dog?
Ideally, there is no safer quantity of chocolates for dogs. The harm depends on the amount of cocoa ingestion. Sometimes even a single chocolate chip cookie can cause serious health problems in dogs.
Chocolate toxicity also depends on the dogs’ type, quantity, and weight. One chocolate chip cookie is capable of making a 10-pounded dog ill.
Hence, it is important to keep chocolate in any form away from your furry kids.
Identifying the Amount and Type of Chocolate Ingested?
It is very important to identify the amount of chocolate ingested by your dog, as the more the amount of ingested chocolate, the more severe health issues can occur and the sooner you need to rush to the veterinarian.
When your dog has eaten a chocolate product, assess the amount missing and note it down, let the vet know the amount of chocolate you think your dog has consumed, and even take a photograph of the remaining item.
This way, it will make it easier for your veterinarian to proceed with the treatment if they have all the details that might cause any issues.
Another important thing to do is to note down the type of chocolate product consumed by the dog. If it’s a packaged choco chip cookie, it makes it easier for you to know the type and ingredients of the chocolate.
If it is a homemade cake or a choco chip cookie, then you need to write down the amount and the ingredients you used to make it and let the vet know in detail.
Treatment Options and Home Remedies
If your dog has ingested any chocolate substance, then you should immediately call your veterinarian, and if they are not reachable, then call the helpline of pet poison control to get proper help.
If both these things are not possible, then try some home remedies to safeguard your dog.
1. Inducing Vomiting
Giving just a small quantity, around a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with water, can induce vomiting in dogs, making them throw up all the chocolate ingested.
You can induce vomiting, but taking a vet’s or professional advice is recommended first.
How Long After Eating Chocolate will My Dog Get Sick?
A chocolate chip cookie or any chocolate product is made up of many other ingredients along with chocolate, and it takes time to process the toxins in the chocolate.
It takes around 1 hour in small dogs to show some effects, and you will be able to see some issues, but it takes more than 8 to 12 hours to show signs of positioning and making a dog sick.
It also depends on the amount of cocoa ingested in the form of chocolate; the more it is ingested, the more quickly it shows the effects.
Should I Make My Dog Vomit After Eating Chocolate?
You should never induce vomiting in dogs after any consumption done by them until and unless it is recommended by a professional or a veterinarian.
Sometimes inducing vomiting can damage the gastrointestinal tract or intestines of a dog’s body, or internal organs, including the throat, esophagus, and others.
When Should I Call the Vet?
You should call a veterinarian when you see your dog has consumed chocolate. Be it any amount or any kind of chocolate. Even if the chocolate ingestion does not show any signs of illness or side effects, you should call a vet and inform them about the incident to prevent serious health issues.
A veterinarian will examine the extent of damage caused by the chocolate and start the diagnosis.
Tips for Preventing Chocolate Ingestion
It can be hard to keep your dogs away from nudging in and trying to have a bite at the chocolate or anything for that matter. They are just another toddler in the house.
The below tips can help you prevent chocolate attacks from your dogs.
- Keep it away from the reach of your canine partner. It may seem obvious, but it is not. Sometimes our casualness leads to incidents, which can be very damaging.
- Train them well. Teach them words like ‘not food’ or ‘stop.’ ‘Stay’ will prevent them from eating when you command.
No, dogs are not supposed to eat chocolates as it can harm them and cause serious health issues.
Yes, in most cases of chocolate chip ingestion, dogs recover. Although if chocolate is ingested in higher quantities than in extreme cases, the results can be fatal.
If your dog has eaten a chocolate chip cookie or any chocolate product, it can likely cause serious health issues. Hope this article will help you understand why chocolates are toxic to dogs, what are the common symptoms of chocolate ingestion in dogs, and what you should do to prevent such ingestions.
It is recommended to take this article as a guide to know everything from the consequences to home remedies after a dog eats chocolate.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.