Issue Description A common cause of poisoning in dogs. The toxic
principles in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. Other Names Theobromine Poisoning
Causes Theobromine is especially toxic to horses,
dogs, parrots, voles, and cats because they are unable to metabolize
the chemical effectively. If they are fed chocolate, the theobromine
will remain in their bloodstream for up to 20 hours. Medical treatment
performed by a veterinarian involves inducing vomiting within two
hours of ingestion and administration of benzodiazepines or
barbiturates for seizures, antiarrhythmics for heart arrhythmias, and
A typical 20 kg (44 lb) dog will normally experience intestinal
distress after eating less than 240 g (8.5 oz) of dark chocolate, but
won't necessarily experience bradycardia or tachyarrhythmia unless it
eats at least a half a kilogram (1.1 lb) of milk chocolate. According
to the Merck Veterinary Manual, approximately 1.3g of baker's
chocolate per kilogram of a dog's body weight (0.02 oz/lb) is
sufficient to cause symptoms of toxicity. For example, a typical 25
gram (1 oz) baker's chocolate bar would be enough to bring out
symptoms in a 20 kg (44 lb) dog.
Symptoms Poison by chocolate can occur quickly if your
dog had a large amount, but sometimes even small amounts will show
signs of poisoning within a few short hours. Symptoms include vomiting
and diarrhea, restlessness and hyperactivity, and he or she might even
go to you for help and answers. Symptoms will progressively get worse
from restlessness to arrhythmia and other muscle twitching. Frequent
urination is common, a direct side affect of the toxin in chocolate.
If you know your dog had chocolate and even the first signs develop,
call a veterinarian right away. If you are unaware of your dog eating
chocolate but develop these symptoms, this might also be a sign of
another poison and you need to find a doctor immediately. If symptoms
in chocolate poisoning don't decrease at this point, they will
probably increase to hyperthermia and seizures, which can quickly
escalate to a coma. Death follows shortly.
Treatment There is no specific antidote for this
poisoning. And the half life of the toxin is 17.5 hours in dogs.
Induce vomiting in the first 1-2 hours if the quantity is unknown.
Administering activated charcoal may inhibit absorption of the toxin.
An anticonvulsant might be indicated if neurological signs are present
and needs to be controlled. Oxygen therapy, intravenous medications,
and fluids might be needed to protect the heart.
chocolate will often cause diarrhea 12-24 hours after ingestion. This
should be treated symptomatically (fluids, etc..) to prevent
If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate
contact your Vet immediately! They can help you determine the proper
treatment for your pet.