6 Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

As a responsible pet owner, it is important to know just how serious chocolate poisoning can be in your dog. Although it can sometimes be tempting to share your favorite sweet treats with your pet, chocolate ingestion is very dangerous for dogs and can sometimes lead to death in extreme circumstances. Because of this, it’s really important to know the common symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs so you know when you need to take your dog to the emergency vet.

Chocolate poisoning in dogs

Common Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Read through the list below to find out more about some of the most common symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs. By brushing up on these symptoms, you can learn how to recognize this problem in your pet before it gets out of hand.

6 symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include:

1. Vomiting and Diarrhea

One of the earliest signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs is vomiting. Some dogs may be able to vomit up the chocolate they consume and may feel fine afterward, but more likely, dogs will continue vomiting from the toxicity caused by the chocolate. Diarrhea may also occur along with this excessive vomiting.

It is important to take your pet to the emergency vet if vomiting and diarrhea continue more than a couple of times. Your dog could be at risk of dehydration otherwise.

2. Increased Thirst

Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate can quickly lead to increased thirst in dogs. This is why increased thirst is another common symptom of chocolate poisoning in dogs. Increased thirst can also be a symptom of a wide range of other illnesses, but if it is an acute, sudden problem, there is a chance the underlying cause could be the ingestion of chocolate.

If your dog is excessively thirsty, this could mean something isn’t working quite right in his body. Consult with your veterinarian and be prepared to make an emergency visit, especially if this symptom is accompanied by any of the others on this list and has no known cause otherwise. Dehydration is a serious risk when dogs ingest chocolate.

3. Panting and Anxiety

Panting and anxiety go along with many health problems in dogs, and they are both also symptoms of pain. If your dog ingests chocolate, he may be in pain or may be feeling very sick from the toxicity levels of the chocolate, or he may be suffering from a rapid heart rate and increased body temperature.

If your dog is clearly in distress after consuming chocolate, he needs to go to the vet right away. If you notice these two symptoms and are unsure whether or not chocolate could be the cause, it is still a good idea to see an emergency vet for more information.

4. Restlessness and Pacing

Restlessness and pacing, like panting and anxiety, can be symptoms associated with pain and discomfort. They may also be related to an overall feeling of sickness. If your dog has been throwing up a lot or if he is feeling very sick from consuming chocolate, you may notice these two symptoms.

Additionally, the caffeine level in chocolate can cause dogs to pace and become very restless, too. Dogs cannot process caffeine the way humans can, so they experience the symptoms of caffeine ingestion in a much higher concentration than humans do.

5. High Heart Rate

A high heart rate goes along with the ingestion of chocolate in dogs as well, which is why this is a symptom of chocolate poisoning in dogs. This is because of the theobromine and caffeine content found in the chocolate. Just like a human may have an elevated heart rate from consuming caffeine, a dog might too. However, dogs cannot handle the amount of caffeine in chocolate, so a dog’s heart rate may reach a dangerous level in a short amount of time after eating chocolate.

High heart rates can be very dangerous, especially if they stay high for a long time. They can also contribute to other symptoms on this list.

6. Seizures

Finally, if a dog consumes a lot of chocolate or eats dark chocolate with a higher theobromine and caffeine content than other types, he may be at risk of seizures. Seizures occur when dogs have eaten too much of a toxic or harmful substance. Although seizures can also be associated with epilepsy, an acute seizure is more likely a sign of poisoning.

If your dog has just one seizure and then seems fine afterward, he may be okay; however, if he has a seizure and you know he’s consumed some chocolate, it is still important to take him to the emergency vet anyway.

Take Your Pet to the Vet Right Away for Any Symptom of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

If you think your dog may have ingested chocolate, or if you know he did, take him to the emergency vet right away. Although some types of chocolate in small quantities may not be as dangerous as others, it is still important to make sure your pet is cared for and responded to efficiently.

Most dogs will recover well from chocolate poisoning if they are taken to the emergency vet in a timely manner. If your dog ingests chocolate, try to bring along the label so the emergency vet can be sure there are no other toxic or harmful substances present in the chocolate as well.

By being able to identify the common symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs, you’ll know when your dog is suffering from this condition and when to take them to the emergency vet. When it comes to getting treatment for this situation, time is truly of the essence. 

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