PetMeds® Treating a Dog That Has Eaten Chocolate
Chocolate ingestion is one of the most common toxicities seen in veterinary practice. It is especially common during the holiday season, where pets often have access to them from either social gatherings or from under the Christmas tree, as well as the irresistible desire of animal guardians to give their canine companions just a small treat. While a small amount of chocolate ingestion does not cause much problem in many dogs, other pets are much more sensitive.
The problem seems to be in handling the theobromine in chocolate produced in the body after ingestion. Theobromine can cause varying degrees of neurological signs in dogs including excitation, rapid heart rate, and seizures. Other pets may simply develop digestive tract upset including diarrhea and vomiting. If a pet is known to have ingested chocolate, one can induce vomiting to prevent absorption if done within a few hours of ingestion. Depending upon the size of the dog, anywhere between a teaspoon and a few tablespoons of over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide can induce vomiting of the ingested chocolate. If unsuccessful, most veterinarians have access to ipecac which can also induce vomiting, as well as providing supportive care such as the administration of activated charcoal to prevent further chocolate absorption, as well as supportive IV fluids to minimize any dehydration from vomiting or diarrhea.