- Contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Only induce vomiting if instructed by your veterinarian. Vomiting should never be induced in tremoring, seizuring or comatose animals.
- Animals that have been seizuring for more than 5 minutes or those with a temperature of 40 degrees or more should be cooled using tepid tap water.
- If possible, provide the packaging or recipe of the product ingested to your veterinarian to aid in identification of the toxin.
Clinical signs appear within 2 to 4 hours.
- Excessive panting
- Increased salivation or drooling
- Vomiting (the vomit often has a distinctive chocolate-brown colour and may contain chocolate wrappers)
- Increased or excessive thirst (polydipsia)
- Increased frequency of urination (polyuria)
- An uncoordinated or unsteady gait (ataxia)
- Muscle rigidity
- Blue-coloured gums (cyanosis)
- Sudden death from chocolate toxicity has been reported
EFFECTS OF TOXICITY
Chocolate contains stimulants and diuretics that can effect cardiac and central nervous issues. Toxicity depends on the type and amount of chocolate ingested. Only 4 small squares of cooking chocolate is enough to kill a 5 kilogram dog.
Veterinary care may be intensive and include activated charcoal or gastric lavage, intravenous fluids, medication to control seizures and cardiovascular support. Some dogs may develop pancreatitis secondary to ingestion of chocolate. These dogs will often require treatment with intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting medication and pain relief.
Bough M (2011) Food-Associated Intoxications. In: Small Animal Toxicology Essentials ed. RH Poppenga and SM Gwaltney-Brant. London: Wiley-Blackwell. Pp212-214.
BSAVA (2012) BSAVA/VPIS Guide to Common Canine and Feline Poisons. Gloucester:
BSAVA Campbell A (2000) Chocolate/Theobromine. In A Campbell & M Chapman (eds). Handbook of Poisoning in Dogs and Cats.
Oxford: Blackwell Science.McAlees T (2013) Emergency treatment: Toxicities. Webinar presented for the Centre for Veterinary Education, Thursday October 17, 2pm. www.cve.edu.au