“Sweet treats and egg hunts are a fun part of Easter for many families but it’s vital we all take steps to protect our pets and avoid cutting the celebrations short with an emergency trip to the vets. Chocolate eggs and bunnies, and even hot cross buns, may seem harmless but can be life-threatening for some pets, especially dogs, who can get extremely sick even from small amounts.Senior Vice President, Justine Shotton –British Veterinary Association (BVA)
Chocolate poisoning In Pets
Chocolate is irresistible for many humans, when we consume chocolate we may add a few calories to our diets, while pets, on the other hand, could incur disastrous repercussions.
- Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is perfectly safe for humans, but toxic for dogs, cats, and rabbits.
- The seriousness of chocolate poisoning depends on how much chocolate your dog has eaten, how big they are, and the cocoa content of the chocolate – the darker the chocolate the more toxic it’s likely to be.
- If your dog has eaten chocolate, keep the packaging and call your vet immediately.
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning?
Theobromine is a similar substance to caffeine and if it’s ingested at a toxic dose, it can cause the nervous system, guts, and muscles to go into overdrive. This typically causes symptoms such as:
Most common Symptoms
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle tremors (Shaking/trembling)
- Heart failure
- High temperature
- High blood pressure
- Fast heart rate
Clinic signs of chocolate poisoning can take hours (approximately 12 hours) to develop and last for days.
What is the treatment for chocolate poisoning?
- Induced vomiting – If you can get your dog to the clinic a few hours after eating chocolate, your vet may be able to give them an injection to make your pet sick. Don’t try to make your dog sick at home.
- Activated charcoal – Your vet may give your pet activated charcoal to absorb any remaining poison, and they may be able to give you some to keep at home.
- A fluid drip – Depending on how much chocolate your dog has eaten and the severity of his condition, it may need to be dripped to support their vital organs and keep them hydrated, while the body flushes out toxins.
- Sedation – If your dog is suffering from severe symptoms such as tremors and seizures, it may need to be sedated to stop them from getting worse.
If you suspect your dog has consumed chocolate, don’t wait for symptoms to appear, contact us immediately! You will need to tell us the type of chocolate, how much they ingested, the size of your pet, and when it happened.
On a final note, we wish you all a very Happy Easter from all of us at Warren House Veterinary Centre Ltd.
P.S. Please keep your pets away from chocolate, sorry but you’ll just have to keep it all to yourselves!