It is always important for pet owners to educate themselves on the potential severity of chocolate poisoning, but especially during Halloween and the holiday season. Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to dogs. The levels of these two toxins vary in concentration between different types of chocolate, white chocolate having the lowest concentration and baking chocolate having the highest.
Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. If toxic levels are ingested, you may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, excessive panting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and sometimes even seizures can be observed.
Chocolate toxicity is usually diagnosed by the owner witnessing the animal ingest chocolate. Treatment depends on the severity of the clinical signs and may include continuous intravenous fluid therapy, medications to help control vomiting, and sedatives to counteract the stimulant effects of chocolate. Occasionally medication to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure is indicated.
Most pets treated for chocolate toxicity recover and return to normal within 24-48 hours of treatment. If your dog ingests chocolate, remove your dog from the source and call us at 916-683-4000 immediately. Home care for pets that have ingested toxic levels of chocolate is primarily aimed at reducing gastrointestinal upset and making certain that there is no access to additional chocolate sources. Once nausea and vomiting ceases, a bland diet may be recommended for a couple of days. If your pet is not eating and drinking, continues to vomit, has persistent diarrhea, or still seems hyperactive, consult your veterinarian for additional recommendations.
Call Franklin Ranch for an appointment today at (916) 683-4000.