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Do you believe your dog might have eaten chocolate? Then Don’t waste a breath! It only takes a small amount for the dog to experience some very nasty health issues. Below you will find a few remedies you can use in case of emergency when you are at home and don’t have the possibility to see a vet right then and there. Even if you can’t see the vet in person, be sure you at least give him a call before trying any of these remedies on your pet.
What to do if Your Dog eats Chocolate
First things first: Avoid Using Activated Charcoal at Home
There are some vets who choose to treat a dog’s poisoning with chocolate a mixture of activated charcoal and drinking water. This is because the activated charcoal will work to prevent the theobromine (which is basically what makes the dog sick in the first place) from getting absorbed in the pet’s system.
I strongly recommend against using this form of treatment at home because it comes with some important risks as well. If you don’t know how to dose it, you risk setting your dog up for an overdose which will put his life in danger.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Induce Forced Vomiting
The best thing you can do when you think your dog has ingested chocolate is to get rid of it before it gets digested by the dog’s system. A very small amount of hydrogen peroxide is one of the easiest ways of getting the pet to vomit.
Usually, just a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide solution with a concentration of 3%, which is food-grade level, should be enough to induce vomiting for a dog that is small to medium in size. As long as you do this right after the dog has eaten a piece of chocolate, there is a strong chance that the effects it has on the pet’s health will be minimal. If instead, more than 30 minutes have passed since the dog has eaten chocolate, then it might be too late and hydrogen peroxide might be unlikely to help.
2. Call ASPCA’s Poison Control Hotline
If you can’t seem to find any local emergency vet available, then you should try to get in touch with the professionals at the ASPCA. They have an animal poison control center that should be readily available 24/7, all year round.
Although you will be faced with a small fee, it will be totally worth it to know that you can count on a certified toxicologist to help you make your dog feel better. In the case of poisoning, each and every minute will count for your pet. The worst thing you could do would be to just look aimlessly on Google for solutions that might not even work.
There are even instances in which the consultation fee charged by the ASPCA’s Poison Control would be waived. For example, you won’t have to spend anything if the microchip of your pet will come from organizations like Home Again.
What Happens When a Dog eats Chocolate?
The first thing you need to understand is that not all kinds of chocolate will affect the dog’s health in the same way. Different chocolate products will have different degrees of toxicity. The chemical called theobromine is what causes toxicity inside the dog’s body and this compound has no effect on humans. The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine content it will have, in general.
The body of a dog will be unable to break down theobromine, unlike humans who will digest it without issues. Too much of this chemical inside the dog’s system will cause a lot of issues to his respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and so on. just 100 to 500 mg of theobromine per kg of the dog’s weight will usually be enough to be considered lethal for the dog.
Among the most common symptoms associated with a dangerous amount of chocolate in a dog’s system are: muscle tremors, abnormal heart rates, seizures, restlessness, diarrhea, and vomiting.
How Much Will It Take For Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms to Show Up?
This is something that will usually depend on several different factors, out of which the most important is the type and amount of chocolate ingested by the dog, as well as the pet’s actual weight. The AKC States that most of the time, you should expect chocolate poisoning symptoms to show up around six to twelve hours after the chocolate has been ingested.
These effects of chocolate poisoning will be present for around 72 hours unless the amount of chocolate ingested by the dog is lethal. You should keep an eye on your dog at all times until you feel like he has returned to his normal behavior. Also keep in mind that along with chocolate, there are other human foods that can put your dog’s life in danger.