We all know what Easter means…. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Whilst this may be fun for us (at least at the time anyway!), it is not fun for our furry friends. In fact, the consequences for dogs who eat chocolate can be fatal.

You can still have a great time at Easter with your dog – just make sure you don’t leave chocolate eggs (or their wrappers) where inquisitive pups can find them. And if you have little ones, why not consider an extra special egg up for grabs for those who take part in a chocolate wrapper or egg foil hunt after the official one? You could then safely follow up with a dog friendly treat hunt.

easter_chocolate_pets_dogsWhy is chocolate dangerous for dogs?

Chocolate poisoning can happen to any animal, however, is it most common in dogs – and not just because many of them are hoovers! Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine which is lethal to dogs. Due to the amount of theobromine, baker’s chocolate and cocoa are the most toxic, followed by dark, milk then white chocolate.

Caffeine, another ingredient in chocolate, can damage a dogs’ nervous system and heart. So even if your dog consumes a small amount of white chocolate and you may not be as worried about the theobromine; the caffeine can still cause significant health issues.

How much is too much?

There is no specific answer to this as toxicity levels all depend on the type of chocolate your dog has eaten; the weight of your dog and how much chocolate is consumed. Without question though, it’s always best to contact your vet to go through this in detail if you suspect that your dog has eaten any chocolate – even if they’re not yet exhibiting any symptoms.

chocolate_toxic_to_dogsWhat are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning?

Dogs process theobromine and caffeine slowly, with the toxic compounds building up in their systems. This slow process means dogs can take up to 6-12 hours before they show signs of chocolate poisoning, so don’t wait for these signs if you already know or suspect your dog has eaten any chocolate. Some of the signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Twitching
  • Tremors

These can be followed by a period of extreme excitement then seizure, coma and death.

What should I do if I suspect or know my dog has eaten chocolate?

Your PetPA has a chocolate toxicity calculator available on the free app that you can use to calculate chocolate intake for your dog and how deadly it can be. If your dog has consumed large amounts of chocolate call your veterinarian immediately. Or take your pooch to the emergency clinic for peace of mind. Early treatment when it comes to consuming chocolate, can mean life or death for your dog.

Download the free Your PetPA app for quick access to our chocolate toxicity calculator and the ability to schedule online veterinary consultations immediately.