News & Advice

Chocolate: Not for your pets

Oct 27, 2022 | Dogs, Pet Health

Did you know that chocolate can be toxic, even fatal, for animals? Dogs are the most commonly affected, as their keen sense of smell means they are able to track down hidden chocolate stashes! The cause of the problem is Theobromine; a toxic compound similar to caffeine which is found in chocolate.

What are the symptoms?
Signs of toxicity are usually seen within 12 hours of the chocolate being eaten. Animals become excited and nervous with an increased heart rate. Vomiting and diarrhoea are other common signs, and animals may drink and urinate more than normal. Seizures, muscle spasms, and death due to heart rhythm abnormalities may be the end result.

How much chocolate is needed for a reaction?
The size of your pet, the type of chocolate, and the quantity of chocolate eaten determines how toxic it is for your pet. Dark or cooking chocolate contains 8 to 10 times as much Theobromine as milk chocolate. Some dogs may experience chocolate toxicity at dose rates as low as 20 mg per kg of dog weight. This means that a 20 kg dog would only need to consume about 250g of milk chocolate to be at risk. This is a rather conservative estimate since the standard risk level is 100-200mg per kg but it is better to be safe than sorry!

What treatment is given?
There is no specific antidote for chocolate toxicity in dogs. If you seek help within four hours of the chocolate being eaten, it may be possible to induce vomiting. Otherwise fluid therapy, anti-seizure drugs, and heart medication can be administered by your vet. If you suspect chocolate toxicity, contact your vet immediately.

What treats can my dog have?
There are a range of safe pet treats available to purchase. Call into our clinics to select a safe treat – Schmackos, Raw Hide Bones, Greenies, Veggiedents and more…

So, despite the longing eyes, think about your pets health – chocolate wasn’t meant to be shared anyway!

Adapted article from Dr M Kidd, Exceptional Canine.

Share This