If your dog ate chocolate eggs, you are right to be concerned. Chocolate can be toxic to dogs and the level of toxicity is dependent on various factors such as your dog's weight, whether your dog ate chocolate of a certain type, and the quantity your dog ingested.
If your dog ate chocolate eggs, it is therefore important to evaluate whether your dog ingested a toxic dose, and then seeking veterinary intervention as quickly as possible.
Following is some information on chocolate toxicity in dogs what to do if your dog ate chocolate eggs.
Help, My Dog Just Ate Chocolate Eggs (Less than 2 Hours Ago)
Because chocolate toxicity is a real problem, and time is of the essence, we will quickly cover what to do if your dog recently ingested chocolate eggs.
If your dog just ingested the chocolate eggs and 2 hours haven't passed, the first steps are the following (scroll down if your dog ingested the chocolate eggs over 2 hours ago). You'll be therefore gathering some info and calling the vet (or some other organization).
1) Determine How Much Your Dog Weighs
The smaller your dog is, the higher the risk that your dog ingested a toxic dose of chocolate. A Chihuahua ingesting chocolate is more at risk than a Labrador ingesting chocolate.
When it comes to chocolate toxicity, it is important knowing how much your dog weighs.
If you don't know this off of your head, look for a recent detailed invoice from your vet's office (often the weight is recorded there) or when you call your vet, him/her can provide this info from looking at your dog's chart.
2) Check What Type of Chocolate Your Dog Ingested
When it comes to dogs, some types of chocolate are worse than others. Below is a a small guide on chocolate toxicity in dogs.
You may need a calculator to have an idea whether your dog ingested a toxic amount, but your vet is the only person that should provide this info and what to do.
Milk chocolate is toxic if ingested in amounts of 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight. That's about one pound of milk chocolate for a 20-pound dog.
Semi-sweet chocolate is toxic if ingested in amounts of 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight. That's about 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate for a 20-pound dog.
Dark chocolate is toxic if ingested in amounts of 0.1 ounces per pound of body weight. That's about 2 ounces of baking chocolate for a 20-pound dog.
As seen, the darker, and more bitter the chocolate, the greater toxicity it holds for dogs.
3) How Many Chocolate Eggs Did Your Dog Eat?
This is not always easy to determine. If the dog eats an egg or two in front of us, that's easy to determine, but sometimes, we may get distracted and leave a bag of chocolate eggs unattended, and then we can't recall how many were left in the bag.
Do your best to estimate how many chocolate eggs were left in there, and look for some proof, for instance, check whether your dog may have spit out some of the chocolate eggs' wrappers.
If your dog ate wrappers too, on top of the chocolate toxicity, the vet will need to factor in the possible risks for the wrappers causing an intestinal obstruction, especially if the dog in on the smaller side.
4) Call Your Vet
Once you have determined those three factors (your dog's weight, the type of chocolate ingested and how much) call your vet.
If possible, keep the chocolate egg packing available so to read the ingredient list and weight of the package to the vet .
Be also ready to tell your vet approximately how long ago your dog ingested the chocolate.
Depending on the type and amount of ingested chocolate, the vet will either recommend you to monitor the dog or induce vomiting in your dog and perhaps rush your dog at the vet’s office.
If your vet's office is closed, you can call an emergency veterinary hospital or you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 (a $75 charge applies) or you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435 (a $75 charge applies).
Inducing Vomiting To Help The Dog Get Rid of the Chocolate
If no more than 2 hours have passed and your dog ingested a concerning dose of chocolate (if milk chocolate mini eggs, a considerable amount would need to ingested), as mentioned, the vet may suggest to induce vomiting at home.
This is done using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and only if the dog is not acting sickly or doesn't have certain medical conditions.
Inducing vomiting is not recommend in dogs who are brachycephalic (have smushed-in faces like bulldogs and pugs).
The quantity to give the dog will vary based on your dog's weight. Your vet will therefore instruct you on how much to give. Once determined the amount, these are the common instructions:
Can You Give Prilosec (Omeprazole) to Dogs Long Term?
Whether you can give Prilosec (omeprazole) to dogs long term is a good question. Perhaps your dog has been diagnosed with acid reflux and the Prilosec medication has been helping your dog greatly so now you're considering giving it long term. Discover whether this is possible and what problems to expect.
1) Using a plastic dropper or a small turkey baster that measures in MLS, squirt the determined amount of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide between your dog's back molars and cheek so that your dog can swallow it.
2) Take your dog outside or in an area where clean-up is easy and wait about 5 to 10 minutes. Monitor your dog carefully during this time. If your dog vomits, remove your dog from the area and clean up the mess. Refrain from feeding or giving water for at least one hour as the dog may vomit again.
3) If your dog doesn't vomit within this time, you can repeat the hydrogen peroxide administration, and once again, carefully monitor your dog.
4) If your dog still does not vomit after the 2nd dose, consult with your vet. He or she may recommend a third dose or taking your dog to the nearest ER veterinarian to try to make your dog vomit using apomorphine.
5) If your dog does manage to vomit, remove your dog from the area and clean up the mess. Refrain from feeding or giving water for at least one hour as the dog may vomit again.
6) Past the hour, once the dog is back to eating and drinking, vets often recommend giving the dog some Pepcid AC (famotidine) as a precaution considering that the peroxide is quite harsh on the dog's stomach. Ask your vet about this option, once again dosage depends on weight.
Help My Dog Ate Chocolate Eggs and it's Over Two Hours!
If it's over two hours since your dog ate the chocolate eggs, call your vet and inform him/her what happened. Be ready to provide important info such as your dog's weight, the type of chocolate ingested, how much and how long ago.
In general, the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning may take 6 to 12 hours to develop, and once developed, due to the theobromine’s long half-life, can last for several days (the toxin may stay in the dog's system for up to 72 hours).
If your dog is acting sick already, be ready to take in your dog to the vet quickly along with the chocolate eggs' packaging.
Tip: take your dog outside to pee frequently since the toxins are released in the urine.
Signs of Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs
As mentioned, it may take 6 to 12 hours for dogs to show signs, although in some cases, they may show earlier. Here is a list of signs, but if your dog shows any of these, please take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
- Excessive panting
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Muscle tremors
In general, two of the earliest signs of toxicity dog owners may notice is increased thirst and vomiting.
In the case of milder toxicities, the symptoms may not progress past this stage. In more severe cases, the symptoms progress and may even lead to seizures and even a fatal heart arrhythmia.
*Consider that if your dog hasn't eaten a toxic amount of chocolate, you may still see some transient vomiting and/or diarrhea, as a result of your dog simply eating something he isn't accustomed to. This should resolve on its own, but consult with your vet if you notice anything worrisome.
Treatment for Dog Chocolate Poisoning
There is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning in dogs. Treatment is mostly stabilization by neutralizing the symptoms and elimination of the theobromine.
The treatment includes vomiting induction (if not already performed by the owner), toxins absorption by using activated charcoal and symptomatic therapy, which depends on present signs and may include medications to slow the heart rate and medications to control potential tremors and seizures.
Supportive therapy should include: administering intravenous fluids to dilute the theobromine’s levels in the bloodstream and promote its excretion, placing a urinary catheter to prevent the theobromine from re-absorbing through the bladder wall, correcting the acid-base and electrolyte abnormalities, maintaining thermoregulation.
Dogs that show severe signs of chocolate poisoning need to be hospitalized for a few days or until stabilization, points out veterinarian Dr. Ivana.
Why is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?
Chocolate is derived from ground, roasted seeds of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). Chocolate contains contains theobromine and caffeine which both can cause problems.
Both caffeine and theobromine are similar in both structure and effects. However, the theobromine is present in much higher levels in chocolate than the caffeine.
When introduced in the organism, theobromine acts like a potent diuretic (which increases the elimination of fluids from the body), heart stimulant (makes the heart work stronger and faster), blood vessel dilator (makes the blood vessels larger in diameter, thus decreasing the general blood pressure) and smooth muscle relaxant.
"These effects are the same for both humans and dogs. However, what makes a differences is that, humans are capable of breaking down theobromine quickly, while dogs instead metabolize the theobromine slowly, thus increasing its chances of acting toxic," explains veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec.
Did you know? There is a safe chocolate substitute for dogs. Learn more here: a safe type of "chocolate" for dogs.
Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be used as substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your dog ate chocolate, please play it safe by reporting to your nearest veterinarians' office immediately.