Chocolate Poisoning

First you have to identify if it is a dark or non-dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are more potentially toxic than regular chocolates. Meaning a bite of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate should keep you worried, while Cloud Nine, Goya or Choko-choko should keep your pet away from hospitalization.

Should your pet swallow dark or baking chocolate, please immediately scroll down to the first aid section.

SYMPTOMS OF CHOCOLATE POISONING

To put it simply, your dog should appear like it drank 10 cups of coffee. It should be hyperactive, easy to startle, vomiting, palpitating (very fast heart beat), and diarrhea. It gets more dangerous if your pet develops seizure, which could damage the brain, and lead to death.

"I had a client who was giving her Chow-chow M&Ms as treats for several weeks. She was using it as bait to make her dog obey. Why didn't her dog die? Because it's neither dark nor baking chocolate. So in the end I had to tell her to stop what she was doing."
Dr. Van Denn Cruz
Canine and feline veterinarian

WHY YOU NEED TO BRING YOUR PET TO THE VET

It may take around four days for your dog’s body to expel all that chocolate. At this time, it should be at the hospital for observation and IV fluids.

If your pet just ate a cheap brand of chocolate, watch out for the symptoms. If they get worse over the next few hours, bring to your vet. If not, observing for 1-4 days post-Chocolate ingestion can be done at home.

WHEN THERE’S NO VET AT THIS TIME

Keeping sure that your dog ate dark or baking chocolate and is NOT WEAK, you may proceed.

salt, salt shaker, table salt
GET THAT SALT! If you do not have hydrogen peroxide at home, your kitchen salt (iodized or not) is your saving grace.

Step 1

Keep the chocolate wrapper, taking note of the amount of theobromine or caffeine in it. You may present it to your vet, should you visit.

What was the time of ingestion?
If it is less than one hour, proceed to step 2.
If it is more than 1 hour and your pet started to weaken, do not proceed to step 2. Rush to you nearest vet and expect for 1-4 days of hospitalization.

Step 2

Dissolve 3 tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Force feed the solution to your dog through a syringe. Flush slowly at the side of the mouth after lifting the lip, and not directly at the back of the throat (it may go straight to the lungs which is dangerous). Your pet should vomit the chocolate.

Alternatively, 3% hydrogen peroxide should do the trick. Syringe feed 1 teaspoon per 2 kg body weight. If you have a Chihuahua, 1 teaspoon is enough. If you have a 10 kg Beagle, give 5 teaspoons. Whatever your dog’s weight in kg is, use ratio and proportion to calculate the amount.

If your dog does not vomit in an hour after Step 2, rush to your nearest vet and expect 1-4 days of hospitalization.

Note

Look for an emergency service provider in advance by calling your nearby vets. It helps to know who is open at the middle of the night. Be sure you meet with the doctors and staff to make sure that this place is where you would want to take your pet if you had to. You may opt to transfer your pet to your primary care veterinarian the next day if you wish.

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