3 Home Remedies for Dogs that Have Eaten Chocolate
Did your dog eat some chocolate? Even a small amount can have serious consequences on your dog’s health. Here are some emergency remedies you can try at home if you aren’t able to see a vet immediately. Make sure you get the vet’s approval before you try anything by yourself.
What to do if Your Dog eats Chocolate
1. Induce Vomiting with Hydrogen Peroxide
The most important step is to get rid of the chocolate before it gets digested by your dog’s body. One way of getting your dog to vomit is by feeding him a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide.
A teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution (food-grade) should induce vomiting for small to medium-sized dogs. The quicker you do this, the lesser the chances of your dog getting sick. Hydrogen peroxide is unlikely to help if thirty minutes has already passed since your dog ate the chocolate.
2. Call ASPCA’s Poison Control Hotline
If you aren’t having much luck getting into contact with a local emergency vet then your next step should be to reach out to the ASPCA. Their animal poison control center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
There is a consultation fee but the amount is worthwhile, especially when knowing that there is a certified toxicologist on the other end of the line. Every minute counts. You don’t want to waste time on Google seeking a solution that could be true or false.
PSA: ASPCA’s Poison Control consultation fee may be waived if your pet’s microchip comes from certain organizations like Home Again.
3. Don’t Use Activated Charcoal at Home
Some vets may administer activated charcoal (by mixing it into the dog’s drinking water) to treat your dog’s chocolate poisoning problem. Activated charcoal can help by preventing the theobromine (the “toxic” component of chocolate) from getting absorbed by the dog’s body.
Unless you really know what you are doing, we don’t recommend giving your dog activated charcoal without the supervision or direction of a vet. Activated charcoal comes with its own risks, one of which is the potential of overdosing your dog.
What Happens When a Dog eats Chocolate?
First, it’s important to note that each chocolate product will have varying degrees of toxicity to dogs. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which can be dangerous for dogs and not for humans. Dark chocolate generally has a higher theobromine content than white or milk chocolate.
Unlike us, dogs don’t have the ability to easily break down and digest theobromine. When there’s too much of it in the system, it can cause problems with the dog’s cardiovascular system, respiratory system etc. 100-500mg per kg of body weight is considered the lethal amount for dogs.
When a dog consumes a dangerous amount of chocolate, they may exhibit the following symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, seizures, abnormal heart rates, and muscle tremors.
Time it Take for Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms to Show Up
This will depend on a number of factors such as the body weight of your dog and the amount and type of chocolate ingested. According to American Kennel Club, chocolate poisoning symptoms can appear six to twelve hours after a dog has eaten chocolate.
Unless the dog consumed a lethal amount of chocolate, you can expect the effects of the chocolate poisoning to remain for up to 72 hours. Be sure to monitor your dog at all times until he returns to his normal self. Pleaes also note that chocolate isn’t the only human food that can be dangerous to dogs. Our human food for dogs list covers 100+ food items that dogs can and cannot eat.
Book an online vet appointment if your dog has an emergency but your local vet isn't available. Vetster is available 24/7 for video chat appointments.