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Chocolate poisoning in dogs

Chocolate poisoning in dogs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Chocolate poisoning is also known as chocolate toxicity in dogs.

Like human babies, puppies and dogs alike are know to pop things into their mouths – things that they probably should not be eating. From insects to paper, toys to chocolate, dogs, especially puppies, can gobble up things they find lying around. And most homes have chocolate, and this can actually be dangerous for dogs.

Chocolate smells good, and with the keen sense of smell, dogs can ferret out these tasty tidbits from secret hiding places. When they eat it, they can become terribly sick, and in severe cases of chocolate toxic poisoning in dogs, they can even die.

Chocolate poisoning symptoms in dogs: Chocolate is made from the roasted seeds of cacao. It has properties like theobromine and caffeine that are actually toxic for animals.

When animals eat chocolate, these ingredients cause medical problems, and can be fatal in some cases.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include seizures, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle rigidity, increased reflex responses, increased body temperature, and vomiting. In severe cases, the dog may go into a coma, or experience immense weakness or may even have a heart attack.

Chocolate: The type and amount of chocolate can also determine the severity of the poisoning. Be careful of the following types of chocolate: milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and baking chocolate.

Diagnosis and treatment: A physical examination that includes a urine analysis, electrolyte panel, and chemical blood profile can determine if the dog has chocolate poisoning. In a blood test, the vet determines the concentration of theobromine. An ECG is also done to check if the heart is showing any abnormalities in the way it beats.

Remember that there isn't any antidote for this. Take your dog immediately to the vet if he is showing any of the symptoms. Keep the dog in a quiet place, and calm and cool. Dogs are also helped to vomit out what they've eaten, and you must control seizures, if they occur. The dog must be given fluids to prevent dehydration, and fed a bland diet for some time to prevent further problems. You must also keep chocolate out of reach, to avoid chocolate toxicity.

Some also believe that giving the dog activated charcoal can help the body absorb the toxins. The vet might give the dog an anticonvulsant if it is showing any neurological signs that should be controlled. Fluids, intravenous medicines, and oxygen therapy might be recommended to keep the heart safe.

  Submitted on June 1, 2010  

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