Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs..
With Christmas coming up most houses have a lot of chocolate in them which sometimes proves a bit too much of a temptation for some of our four legged friends.
Chocolate contains methylxanthines, naturally occurring substances that stimulate the nervous system and heart muscle, causes diuresis (excessive urination) and relaxes smooth muscle). Caffeine and theobromine are the predominant methylxanthines found in chocolate.
Signs of chocolate ingestion in a dog:
* Clinical signs are usually seen within 6-12 hours of eating chocolate but can be seen earlier than that.
* Increased drinking.
* Increased urination.
* Racing heart rate.
* Muscle tremors.
Chocolate ingestion can be very serious in older dogs and dogs with existing heart disease. It may cause dehydration very quickly due to the diuretic effect meaning dogs with kidney disease are at a higher risk of causing further damage to their kidneys.
Billy had eaten milk chocolate which does not have as high concentration of caffeine and theobromine but it was at a level that carried a mild to moderate risk. His course of treatment was to make him vomit the chocolate back up using specific medication licensed for dogs. A very sorry looking Billy left the clinic with an empty stomach and a course of liquid charcoal.
The charcoal will help to bind any caffeine or theobromine which had already been absorbed in his system prior to vomiting, the charcoal then carries it safely out of his system. His owners were asked to monitor him closely and expect black poo in a few days’ time. If a dog has eaten chocolate and the owners do not realise in time to bring them to the veterinary surgery to make them sick the treatment plan would be hospitalisation, intravenous fluid therapy, close heart monitoring, possibly heart medication if indicated and liquid charcoal.
If your dog has eaten chocolate phone your veterinary surgery immediately. If possible have the packet to hand so you can tell the veterinary staff how much has been eaten. The veterinary team can then work out if your dog has eaten a toxic amount and advise you if you need to come into the clinic. White and milk chocolate are not as toxic as dark chocolate and the level of seriousness will depend on the weight of your dog.
It is very rare for cats to eat things they should not but if one were to eat chocolate it is even more toxic to them than a dog so veterinary attention must be sought. I have heard of a case of a rabbit eating chocolate, not a common thing to happen but if it does veterinary attention must be sought as it is very toxic and also difficult to treat as rabbits cant vomit.
**** DO NOT TRY TO MAKE YOUR DOG VOMIT AT HOME!!!
MOST THINGS THAT WERE USED TRADITIONALLY IN THE HOME ARE ACTUALLY TOXIC AND MAY CAUSE A MORE SERIOUS PROBLEM FOR YOUR PET****