Chocolate Toxicity & Foods We Should Not Feed Our Dogs

What we love to eat may actually be toxic to our pets.

Twinkle got her paws on a bar of brown rice chocolate and was rushed to Mount Pleasant After-Hours Emergency Clinic. She was attended to by Dr Cheryl Ho and Rodel immediately.

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“Twinkle ate a 65g bar of brown rice chocolate last night without our knowledge. We caught her at the tail-end of her feast. She became a little hyperactive. I called up Mount Pleasant After-Hours Emergency Clinic (Whitley) & was asked to bring Twinkle to the clinic immediately. ” ~ Sharon

Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically theobromine) which are toxic to dogs in certain amounts

Theobromine is a stimulant similar to caffeine. It is present at higher levels in dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate compared to milk and white chocolate. The toxicity of theobromine, therefore, differs according to:

  • type of chocolate ingested
  • amount of chocolate ingested
  • size of the dog

For a small dog like Twinkle, a 50g bar of dark chocolate can cause potentially life-threatening toxicity. Thankfully, the amount of theobromine in the brown rice chocolate bar was insufficient to cause severe toxicity. 

“If your dog has ingested chocolate, take her to the vet immediately. It is important to bring along the chocolate packaging, if possible, so that we can calculate toxicity levels based on weight.” ~ Dr Cheryl Ho, Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley)

Clinical signs of chocolate toxicity include:
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • hyperactivity
  • Increased reflex responses
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • muscle tremors
  • seizures
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Last week over lunch time at Mount Pleasant Animal Clinic (East), we received an emergency call. Sasha had finished half a box of cappuccino-milk chocolate bites which was left on a table.

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Dr Iin, Gladys & Moe attended to Sasha immediately.

TREATMENT depends on severity of toxicity and involves:
  • emesis induction (inducing vomiting)
  • giving activated charcoal to bind to the chocolate
  • putting the dog on intravenous fluids

Twinkle and Sasha were administered with apomorphine to induce vomiting. It can be given by injection or topically in the form of a quick dissolving tablet to the conjunctival sac of the eye.

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Sasha was hospitalised for observation & well enough for discharge that night. Not all dogs are so fortunate. Some had passed away from severe toxicity, especially when treatment was delayed.

"I want to thank Dr Cheryl Ho & her assistant Rodel for being so calm, reassuring & supportive. They were fast & professional in attending to us immediately. Twinkle vomited the chocolate paste & her dinner within a few minutes of being administered the medicine. Am really grateful to both of them! Twinkle is alright now." ~ Sharon

“I want to thank Dr Cheryl Ho & her assistant Rodel for being so calm, reassuring & supportive. They were fast & professional in attending to us immediately. Twinkle vomited the chocolate paste & her dinner a few minutes after being administered the medicine. Am really grateful to both of them! Twinkle is alright now.” ~ Sharon

** With festive season round the corner, keep chocolates and sweet treats out of your dogs’ reach. If you suspect they have ingested chocolates, take them to the vet immediately. Do not ‘wait and see’. Prompt treatment can save your dog’s life. **


other human foods we should not feed our dogs and cats

ALCOHOL: Just a little alcohol can cause vomiting, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death.

GRAPES & RAISINS: Substance in grapes and raisins is known to cause kidney failure.

MILK: Most dogs do not produce sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase to break down lactose in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance leads to soft stools, digestive upset or food allergies. 

NUTS: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and elevated body temperature. Other nuts, like almonds and walnuts, contain high amounts of fats which can potentially cause pancreatitis.

ONIONS: If a large amount of onions (or garlic) is consumed, your dog could suffer gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage, leading to anaemia.

SALTY FOODS: Do not share salty snacks (e.g. potato chips, pretzels) with your dog. Large amounts of salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures. 

COOKED BONES: Cooked bones can easily splinter when chewed and cause internal injuries to your dog.

XYLITOL: This artificial sweetener is used in products like candy, baked goods, toothpaste. Xylitol can cause increased insulin to circulate in your dog’s body, leading to hypoglycemia (lowered blood sugar levels) and liver failure.

danger-foods

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Mount Pleasant After-Hours Emergency Clinic is located at 232 Whitley Road, Tel 6250 8333.

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