Trixie's dangerous chocolate addiction

Trixie is now doing very well, although we had a scare at the end of May. Trixie is a tiny 5kg, eighteen month old Maltese x Papillon who, in the early hours of one Saturday morning, decided to help herself to a delicious and tempting dark chocolate bar. One hundred and twenty five grams of rich dark chocolate! A serious temptation for a hungry dog, but also a very serious problem!

Unfortunately, two aspects of chocolate are extremely toxic to dogs (but not to humans). These drugs are theobromine and caffeine. The theobromine and caffeine contents are metabolised by dogs much slower than people do. These are both stimulants to the central nervous system. The content of these stimulants is different in different types of chocolate:

  • White chocolate - Contains the least theobromine
  • Milk chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Cooking chocolate - Contains the most theobromine

If too much chocolate is ingested then the increased stimulus to the central nervous system can cause an increase in blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms, seizures and possibly even death. In lower doses, dogs can end up with gastrointestinal upsets (vomiting and diarrhoea).

Thankfully, Trixie's owners found out that she had eaten the chocolate and brought her in as soon as they realised. We put Trixie on intravenous fluids to help her deal with the toxins and monitored her vital signs very closely. We also gave her medication to protect the gut lining and prevent vomiting. Trixie was a very lucky dog and did not progress into the potentially life threatening stages. She has recovered well.

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please call us immediately, or bring your pet in. Our experienced veterinary team can advise you of whether we need to see your dog, and provide treatment as necessary.