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Signs, symptoms

& preventing Chocolate

Poisoning in Dogs

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Chocolate Poisoning and Dogs
By: Tippy

If you are a dog owner then you probably already know that
chocolate is poisonous to dogs and it is commonly left
around the house where your dog could possibly get into it.

Dog owners that are new to having a pet and are relatively
inexperienced with dogs in particular may be careless and
share a cookie or a candy without thinking about whether
there is any chocolate in it.

Chocolate candy bars, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate
candies, etcetera, should be kept where pets and children
cannot find them on their own. They are considered to be one
of the most lethal substances that can be ingested by your

Small amounts of chocolate flavoring in cake, ice cream and
snacks don't have the toxin that is poisonous to animals, so
some pet owners develop a habit of feeding their dog such
chocolate-flavored snacks. This can be deadly to your dog as
most people don't usually check the ingredients on the back
of a box or snack to determine if what is in it is real
chocolate or a substitute.

If you absent-mindedly feed your dog chocolate-flavored
snacks all of the time you have a greater chance of
poisoning your dog. And unfortunately dogs love chocolate.
Once a dog has had a small amount of chocolate and
determines that it is food it will seek it out by odor to
get some more.

That is why it is very important that if you are going to
eat chocolate that you don't leave it around where your dog
can get into it. A particularly smart dog can even open
kitchen cabinets, so either keep your chocolate up on top
shelves of top cupboards or install baby locks so your dog
can't get into the cupboard.

You are the guardian in control of your dog's health and
well-being. Protect your dog from being poisoned
accidentally or carelessly. And always have your local
poison control and veterinarian's phone number handy should
your dog ingest something that you suspect is poisonous.

Signs and Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog manages to ingest a large amount of chocolate,
symptoms can occur quickly. If the dog has ingested only a
small amount of chocolate it can take a few hours before any
symptoms become apparent.

Symptoms in canines that have ingested and been poisoned by
chocolate include:

- Heart Arrhythmia
- Diarrhea
- Frequent Urination
- Hyperactivity
- Muscle Twitching
- Restlessness
- Vomiting

Symptoms will get progressively worse as time goes by. Call
a veterinarian right away, ASAP! If you do not know if your
dog has eaten chocolate but it does develop these symptoms
it can be a sign of a different poison having been ingested.
If symptoms continue to progress and shows no signs of
lessening your dog can start having seizures and
hyperthermia which escalate to coma and eventually death.

The cause of this response is a particular stimulate in
chocolate called Theobromine, which is found in the cocoa
plant "Theobroma Cocoa" which is the bean that creates

Theobromine affects the nervous system as well as the heart
of your dog causing your dog to go into a panic state which
usually will cause epileptic seizures. Dogs can't process
Theobromine like humans can so it will remain in the system
causing system-wide panic responses until eventually killing
the dog.

It is hard to actually calculate how much chocolate it would
take to poison a dog. It has more to do with what type of
chocolate rather than the amount of chocolate that your dog
ingests. For instance, baking chocolate is deadly in small
quantities whereas milk chocolate can have little effect if
a small amount is ingested. The response is also determined
by the weight, age and health of the dog.

Preventing Chocolate Poison in Dogs

Chocolate is one of the more common desserts that humans
snack on. However, your dog can become seriously ill or die
if it ingests any chocolate. Here are some handy tips to
prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting chocolate and
harming itself.

1. Never ever feed your dog chocolate. Even in miniscule
amounts. This way your dog doesn't associate chocolate as
food and it is less likely to ingest it if it is left lying

2. Never feed your dog anything with chocolate flavoring.
Like chocolate, you do not want your dog to acquire a taste
for it or associate chocolate as food.

3. Be sure to keep your chocolate locked up or up high where
your dog can't get it. If it is in a low cabinet be sure to
get a lock or baby security latches to prevent your dog from
getting into the cabinet and getting the chocolate. Dogs can
be ingenious when it comes to food.

4. Do not ever leave chocolate lying around. The most common
way dogs are poisoned by chocolate is that someone leaves
some chocolate lying around while they go and do something
for just one second. One second is all it takes for your dog
to get the chocolate and scarf it down.

5. Do not put chocolate into candy dishes where your dog can
get to it around the holiday season.

6. Do not leave boxes of chocolate or chocolate in wrappers
out where your dog can get to them.

7. Do not share any foods that have chocolate in them with
your dog. Discourage your dog from begging after chocolate
and tell it "no" should it try to get a snack from you that
has chocolate in it. That way it will associate the smell of
chocolate as a bad thing and perhaps will leave it alone.

Be sure to keep emergency supplies on had should your dog
become poisoned with chocolate. Call your veterinarian as
soon as possible if you believe that your dog has eaten a
deadly amount of chocolate. Take it to the veterinarian
right away. You can also contact your local poison control
center for advice.

Treatment of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Treating a dog with chocolate poisoning requires that you be
prepared for the occasion ahead of time by stocking up on
activated charcoal and a bottle of Ipecac and hydrogen
peroxide. Make an emergency poison kit with these
ingredients listed above prominent in it as it will cut down
on time in finding what you need to treat your dog should it
be poisoned.

These ingredients are effective on a lot of different types
of poisoning. Make sure to put the poison control number, a
veterinarian number and a doctor's number as this kit can be
effective in treating children that have gotten into a toxic
substance or poison.

Activated charcoal is usually kept on hand at your
veterinarian and you can ask your veterinarian for some. It
comes in a couple of different forms like powder, thick
liquid or charcoal tablets. Activated charcoal binds to
toxin preventing them from being absorbed into the blood.

If you find yourself without activated charcoal than it has
been suggested that burnt toast does the same thing. However
it isn't nearly as effective and having activated charcoal
on hand is definitely preferred.

In order to induce vomiting you can also make a three
percent hydrogen peroxide and water mixture. Dosage for a
small dog would be one to two teaspoons and for a larger dog
three to four teaspoons. Give this mixture every ten to
fifteen minutes until vomiting occurs.

If your dog ingests a poison your first action should be to
induce vomiting, and then feed your dog activated charcoal.
It is important that you get charcoal into your dog as soon
as possible after it vomits so that the charcoal has a
chance to bind to the toxins and preventing further
absorption into the blood stream.

Be sure to follow all instructions that are on the package.
If there are none then follow the general rule of one
teaspoon for a dog weighing twenty-five pounds and two
teaspoons for a dog that weighs more than that.

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