How to not break your dog’s heart this Valentine’s Day

While you are eating Lindt chocolate this Valentine’s Day, please avoid sharing them with the love of your life… your dog!

Chocolate is harmful to dogs for a couple of reasons. The sugar content alone in chocolate is enough to cause vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, especially for dogs who have a sensitive gastrointestinal system, it can cause pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas gland) which can be life threatening. However, chocolate’s main concerning ingredient is theobromine. The higher the percentage of cocoa the more theobromine it contains. Therefore, the quantity of theobromine in dark chocolate that is toxic to your dog is much more than the quantity in milk chocolate that is toxic to your dog.

For example:

Milk Chocolate

Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate 100g bar

  • 10lb dog: Severe toxicity
  • 30lb dog: Mild toxicity
  • 60lb dog: Mild toxicity

Dark Chocolate

Cadbury Royal Dark Chocolate 99g bar

  • 10lb dog: Severe toxicity
  • 30lb dog: Severe toxicity
  • 60lb dog: Moderate toxicity

Treatment for chocolate toxicity is very much dependant on the the severity, i.e. how much the dog has consumed. Mild cases can often be treated on an outpatient basis. This protocol generally involves emesis induction (medically induced vomiting) and charcoal treatment. The charcoal absorbs the theobromine in the GI tract to avoid any further absorption. Moderate to severe cases are generally hospitalized in the clinic for treatments such as IV fluid therapy, repeat charcoal dosing, antacids, seizure watch and cardiac monitoring.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include:

Mild Chocolate Toxicity

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Moderate – Severe Toxicity

  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Salivation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Arrhythmias
  • Twitching
  • Seizuring
  • Death

“My dog ate chocolate. What do I do?” It’s a question that many dog owners can ask themselves at some point. please call Aurora Animal Clinic or your closest emergency clinic a call!

By Caitlin Johnston, RVT