What Happens When a Dog Eats Chocolate?


Quick Answer

A dog is likely to become sick from eating chocolate, depending on the amount and type of chocolate consumed, according to WebMD. Symptoms include diarrhea, seizures, vomiting, tremors, increased heartbeat and cardiac arrest. The theobromine present in chocolate lingers in a dog's intestinal tract far longer than in a human's and is highly toxic to the animals, even in very small amounts.

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Full Answer

WebMD explains that lighter chocolates, such as milk chocolate, white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate, contain less theobromine than purer forms of chocolate. Unsweetened baker's chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and is a common cause of theobromine poisoning among pets. The most potent form is dark chocolate, which is extremely dangerous to dogs even when consumed in very small amounts.

Dogs must be kept away from all forms of chocolate because it is pleasing to their palates, and they are likely to eat as much as they have access to. If a dog ingests chocolate and begins showing signs of theobromine toxicity, WebMD explains that a veterinarian may treat the animal by giving it syrup of ipecac to encourage vomiting so that as much of the theobromine as possible is expelled from the animal's intestinal tract. A vet may also administer activated charcoal to the dog to assist in preventing more of the chemical from entering the dog's bloodstream.

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