My Dog Just Ate Chocolate Halloween Candy! Do I Need To Go To A Carmel Vet Clinic?


It’s that time of year again–People and pets dressing up and visiting their neighbors  for candy.  I have always loved Halloween.  My friends often call me at my Carmel vet clinic around this time of year with a similar question:  “My dog just ate the chocolate Halloween candy!  What should I do?”  The answer depends on 4 different variables:

1.  What kind of chocolate was eaten?  Was it dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, baking chocolate, etc…?  Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are much worse as they contain higher amounts of compound that is toxic to dogs.

2.  How big is your dog and how many ounces of chocolate did your dog actually ingest?  Just like toxicity in people, size matters as well as how much.  If a little Yorkie or Chihuahua eats a bunch of chocolate, it is much more likely to be serious than if a big Labrador Retriever ate the same amount.

3.  When did your dog eat the chocolate?  If it has been more than 6-8 hours, inducing vomiting may not be very helpful.

4.  Did your dog eat anything else with the chocolate?  Any packaging materials, wrappers, etc…?  Although rare, foreign material can cause a life-threatening blockage in the stomach or intestines.

Unlike people, dogs can NOT process a chemical in chocolate called theobromine.  The caffeine in chocolate is also toxic to dogs.  Sometimes as soon as 6-12 hours after ingestion, dogs can start to appear restless with vomiting and diarrhea.  Signs progress with higher doses to hyperactivity, incoordination, tremors, even seizures and death.  Very small dogs 10 lbs or less can start to show toxicity from eating 2 ounces of milk chocolate.

If you are not sure how much your dog ate, it is better to be safe than sorry.  Call your Carmel vet clinic and let them know you are on your way.  If you can catch it early, the vet can make your dog vomit and remove the toxic material before enters the bloodstream.  If it has been over 8 hours, supportive care and medication can be administered to prevent more of the chemical from absorbed.  Let’s have a safe Halloween this year in the Indianapolis area.  Keep the candy picked up.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on this link to your Carmel Vet Clinic.

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