By Greencross Vets
LOKI’S owner was just sitting down ready to snack on a piece or two of Cadbury Chocolate, when he turned away for a split second and 19-week-old puppy Loki had devoured the entire block! Unfortunately, chocolate contains theobromine which is slowly metabolised by animals and can be poisonous to dogs & cats.
While you shouldn’t give your pets any type of chocolate, some chocolate is more toxic than others. It is the concentration level of theobromine in chocolate that determines how toxic it is. Concentration levels vary among the different types of chocolate, but an easy way to tell how poisonous it is by how dark it is – the darker the chocolate the higher the level of theobromine it will contain.
If your dog has ingested a potentially toxic amount, they will begin to show signs and symptoms of poisoning between four to 24 hours after eating the chocolate.
Early signs are mild and include: Gastrointestinal upsets, Vomiting & Diarrhoea, Excessive urination and Increased thirst
Signs can progress to include: Hyperactivity, Increased heart rate and Pancreatitis
The more severe signs include: Depression, Heart arrhythmias and heart failure, Tremors, Seizures and Coma
As there is no antidote to theobromine, treatment involves supportive care. This may include inducing vomiting to remove the toxin, IV fluids to assist in flushing remaining toxins, administering activated charcoal to stop the toxin from being further absorbed into the body and medication to regulate heart rate
While dogs shouldn’t be eating chocolate, like Loki, they are masters of getting into what they shouldn’t. If you believe, or even suspect your pet has ingested chocolate seek veterinary attention immediately. Before contacting your vet, try and determine what kind and how much chocolate they ate. With this information your veterinarian will advise you on what to do or if a toxic amount has been ingested.
Treated quickly, your pet has the opportunity to make a full recovery like Loki.