We've all heard the warnings about dogs eating chocolate. Is it really toxic to dogs? Why is it so dangerous? And, probably the most important question, what to do if your dog eats chocolate? I'll answer all of these questions in this quick guide.
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Chocolate is made from the roasted seeds of cocoa plants. It contains a chemical called theobromine. This is what makes chocolate dangerous to dogs, because they do not metabolize theobromine the way humans do, so it can be toxic to them.
Too much chocolate will have detrimental effects on a dog's cardiovascular and nervous systems, among other things. If your dog only ingests a small amount of chocolate, it will likely pass through his system with no issues. However, you should keep an eye out for signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs, such as:
- sudden collapse
- muscle spasms
- abnormal heart rate
If you believe that your dog has eaten chocolate, the best thing to do is call your veterinarian or pet poison hotline. The professional may advise you to make the dog throw up, and will help you decide whether a trip for medical care is warranted or not.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate
0. Types of Chocolate
A good rule of thumb to remember is that the darker and more bitter chocolate is, the more dangerous it will be for the dog.
White chocolate is not toxic to dogs, because it does not contain cocoa. Dark chocolate and baker's chocolate are the worst, because they contain more theobromine.
Learning what to do if a dog eats chocolate beforehand is important, ideally before you actually need this information. You won't have the time to do the research in the event of a pet poisoning emergency.
1. Get 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
If your dog eats chocolate, the first thing you need to do is contact your veterinarian.
It is likely that they will tell you to make the dog vomit to get the chocolate out of his digestive system. You can use 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in dogs.
How much: The proper dosage of 3% hydrogen peroxide for a dog to make them throw up is one teaspoon for every 5 pounds of a dog's body weight.
However, 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide should be the absolute maximum amount, no matter how much your dog weighs. More than that can be fatal to dogs.
2. Induce Vomiting
In order to make your dog throw up, all you have to do is squirt the hydrogen peroxide into the dog's mouth and make sure he swallows it.
The easiest way to do this is by using a syringe to squirt the peroxide into the back of a dog's throat. In most cases, he will instinctively swallow the liquid.
Note: 3 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon. But if your dog weighs more than 45 pounds, you should only give him 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide maximum. Giving any more than this amount at one time could make your pet's stomach rupture, so it's crucial that you follow these dosage instructions.
3. Allow the Dog to Vomit
After you've given the dose of peroxide, your pet should vomit within 2-5 minutes.
If the dog doesn't throw up, you can re-dose, but only once. Again, do NOT give your dog more than 2 doses of hydrogen peroxide, because that can be fatal.
If your pet doesn't throw up after two doses of hydrogen peroxide, you must seek veterinary help immediately. Do not take any chances. By this time, your pup will be uncomfortable, and the chocolate will be working its way through his digestive tract.