Are you a dog Mom or Dad?
For all of the dog parents out there, it’s safe to say that our four-legged friends become fast members of our family. Like any of member of our family, we take every measure possible to ensure that our dogs are as healthy, happy, and safe as possible.
When it comes to health and safety, this generally means a healthy diet and avoiding ingredients that are harmful to the well-being of dogs. Of these hazardous products, chocolate is known to be one of the most harmful products a dog could ingest.
If you’re wondering what to do if a dog eats chocolate, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn a step-by-step guide on what to do when your dog helps themselves to your chocolate stash.
1. Assess the Damage
First and foremost, it’s time to access the damage.
You want to know exactly much chocolate your dog consumed as well as what type of chocolate was consumed. In evaluating this, it’s important to note that different chocolates have different strengths and hazards.
For example, the milk chocolate found in candy bars is generally less toxic than the pure, dark chocolate used in baking. As a general rule, chocolate containing a higher amount of cocoa is considered to be more dangerous than chocolate with small traces of cocoa.
Knowing the quantity and quality of the chocolate is going to be helpful when you speak with your vet and assess the damage. That being said, any and every type of chocolate consumed by a dog must be taken seriously and treated immediately.
2. Call Your Vet
Next, you’re going to want to call your vet immediately.
During this conversation, you’ll need to explain how much chocolate you believe your dog has consumed. You’ll well as what type of chocolate it was and how much cocoa was present in the chocolate.
If you’re unsure, it might be helpful to read the ingredients of the chocolate to your vet. This will help them to assess the severity of the chocolate and determine the best treatment methods.
With this, you’ll also need to share information as to the weight of your dog as well as when you believe the chocolate was consumed. As a general rule, symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually appear 6-12 hours after consumption. From here, the vet will determine whether your dog needs to visit the vet for an appointment or whether your dog can be treated at home.
3. Call an Emergency Vet
What happens when your dog gets into the chocolate stash in the middle of the night?
As with most services, not all veterinary clinics are open 24-hours a day. If your vet happens to be closed, you might have to seek guidance outside of your go-to vet. This is where an emergency vet comes into play.
While an emergency vet is generally more costly, treating your dog immediately is likely to save you money in the long run. One of the reasons that dogs do tend to survive chocolate episodes is because their owners act quickly and understand the seriousness of the situation.
In this event, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and opt for expert advice as soon as possible. When it comes to your dog consuming chocolate, it’s safe to say that time is certainly of the essence.
4. Induce Vomiting
After speaking with your vet, you might be directed to induce vomiting in your dog. Before doing so, be sure to feed your dog a small meal. Having a small trace of food present in their stomach will help to induce vomiting.
While some dogs will naturally vomit on their own, this isn’t always the case. The goal here is to get the chocolate out of their system as quickly as possible after consumption. This is one of the most efficient ways to remove the majority of the toxins from your dog’s body.
To help induce vomiting, you’ll want to give your dog 3% hydrogen peroxide. This can be distributed via a tool such as a turkey baster or a syringe. The general rule is to administer one to two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide for every ten pounds of dog.
5. Monitor Your Dog
Lastly, it’s important to monitor your dog closely for the next short while.
Even after an induced vomit and a vet to your vet, it’s still possible that your dog will display the symptoms of chocolate consumption. Symptoms may include anything from panting and high degrees of energy to diarrhea and shaking. If these symptoms persist, it’s best to call your vet.
6. Reassess Your Chocolate Storage
Let’s face it, chocolate is likely just as tempting to dogs as it is to us, humans.
That being said, you may want to consider how readily available chocolate is to your dog. Is it stored on the bottom shelf of the pantry? Or, do you keep a chocolate stash on your kitchen counters?
Either way, you’ll want to ensure that any trace of chocolate is carefully stored out-of-reach from your pets. Remember, a dog’s ability to smell is entirely unparalleled to that of humans. If chocolate is detected, a dog generally isn’t going to hold back when it’s easily accessible.
What to Do If a Dog Eats Chocolate
For each and every dog owner, it’s important to note that dogs who have eaten chocolate must be treated immediately.
Even if your dog has yet to indulge, it’s best to know what to do if a dog eats chocolate in advance. This way, you can deal with the situation promptly and ensure the utmost health and safety of your four-legged friend.
To help, read over our guide to understand the ins and outs of dealing with your pet’s chocolate indulgence. Who knows, knowing this information just might save their life down the road!
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