My Puppy Ate Chocolate – What Should I Do?
If there is one question we get on this dog blog, it has to do with dogs eating different things. Dogs, especially puppies, will eat pretty much anything they come across regardless of whether it is good or bad for them. Hey, they are just like humans! While I can pig out on chocolate with little more than an upset stomach as a consequence, purebred puppies are different. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. What should you do if your puppy ate chocolate? Let’s take a look.
Why Chocolate is Dangerous
Theobromine, an alkaloid in chocolate, is the substance of concern. It is comparable to caffeine and affects the nervous system of dogs as well as the cardiovascular system. When your cute little Cairn Terrier puppy eats chocolate, their blood pressure increases and they start to feel ill. As the full effect comes on, they can suffer from:
- Increased urination and dehydration,
- Increased heart rate, and
- Digestive issues.
How badly will chocolate impact your puppy? Severely. The problem, of course, is your puppy is small so eating even a single candy bar can mean a large dose of Theobromine.
This is not the end of the story, however. The amount and type of chocolate factor in as well. Cocoa powder is highest in Theobromine while milk chocolate is lowest. To put this in perspective, 1 ounce of cocoa powder would be fatal to a dog that weighs 16 lbs while it would take 1 pound of milk chocolate to have the same impact.
What To Do
The first step is to determine how much chocolate your puppy ingested. If the puppy mowed through a bag of chocolates, get them to the vet as soon as possible. If they ate a relatively small amount of chocolate, just watch them closely for symptoms of Theobromine poisoning. Are they vomiting? Do they have diarrhea?
Treatments for Chocolate Ingestion
Most vets will induce vomiting right away, especially if the chocolate was eaten recently. You might want to try to do this on your own before going to the vet. I did this with my puppy after she ate some chocolate chips I left out after making cookies. I was able to successfully get her to vomit. I could see most of the chips in her vomit, so I didn’t take her to the vet. She had horrific diarrhea for a day, but then was fine.
If you do go to the vet, they will induce vomiting and then take a second step. This typically involves giving your pup activated charcoal, which prevents the Theobromine from getting into the bloodstream. While it is possible to do this at home, I don’t recommend it unless you really know what you are doing. You might give your pup too much and make them even sicker.
If your dog ingests chocolate, stay calm and think fast. Neither you nor your dog may like it, but you need to induce vomiting as soon as possible. Doing so can be the key to saving the life of your puppy.