Chocolate poisoning

Chocolate labrador licking lipsChocolate contains the chemical theobromine which is toxic to dogs.  It normally causes problems 4-24 hours after ingestion with signs such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Seizures

In severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be fatal and can cause liver problems.

The toxic dose is 100mg/kg of theobromine.  To determine whether your dog has eaten a toxic dose of chocolate, call your vet or visit the VetsNow Chocolate Toxicity Calculator.



Treatment

Dachshund lying down in vet kennelIf your dog has eaten a toxic dose, you should contact your vet immediately.

Chocolate toxicity is treated by making your dog vomit if safe to do so (not if seizures have started) and give activated charcoal to prevent more theobromine being absorbed.

Supportive care with fluids, medication to regular heart rate and blood pressure, and seizure medication may be needed in severe cases.



Prevention

Always keep chocolate well out of reach of dogs.  Remember they have a great sense of smell so can detect chocolate through layers of wrappers.  Wrapping paper, cardboard and foil wrappers are no obstacle to a determined dog!

Related pages

Help! My dog’s eaten something poisonous!

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