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Help! My dog ate chocolate! What do I do?
The treatment for chocolate poisoning in dogs depends on how much chocolate the dog ate, how long ago he or she ate it and how much the dog weighs. If you believe that your dog has eaten chocolate – no matter how much or what type, you should call your vet or the ASPCA poison hotline for advice. Better safe than sorry, and most vets would rather tell you not to worry about one or two M&Ms than have you not call. Be prepared to tell them what kind of chocolate the dog ate, approximately how much the dog ingested, how long ago the dog ate the chocolate and approximately how much the dog weighs. Also be prepared to answer a few questions about your dog’s symptoms – has he vomited? Does he have diarrhea? Is he or she acting oddly? How much has he or she urinated since eating the chocolate?
If it has been two hours or less since your dog ate the chocolate, the best course of action is to induce vomiting with activated charcoal. Beyond two hours, the theobromine is likely already into his or her system, and a vet is the best judge of whether it will still be beneficial to induce vomiting. Your vet may want to keep your dog overnight if he is exhibiting symptoms, or he may send you home with instructions to call back if symptoms worsen.
Tips on Chocolate and Dog Poisoning
Your best option is always prevention. Here are some tips regarding chocolate and dog poisoning that may help you avoid problems.
1. Don’t give your dog chocolate as a treat. It’s less a worry about a tiny bite affecting your dog than it is not encouraging a taste for chocolate in your dog.
2. Keep chocolate locked away where your dog can’t get to it.
3. Remember that chocolate is more than just candy. Take it just as seriously if your dog gets into the chocolate cake, or laps up a cup of hot cocoa.
4. Don’t use cocoa mulch unless it is specifically marked that it does not contain theobromide.
5. Call your vet as soon as you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate.
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