If you’re like me, losing a precious Reese’s peanut butter cup is enough to bring a tear to your eye. But, if your furry friend gets his paws on your Halloween candy, you may have more than just a confectionery crisis on your hands. So, what happens if your dog eats your Halloween candy? Let’s explore the important questions you should ask yourself.
Assessing the Situation
When you discover that your canine companion has devoured your Halloween treats, the first step is to evaluate the extent of the indulgence. Consider the following:
- How much candy did your dog consume?
- Was it chocolate? If so, was it dark or milk chocolate?
- Did the candy contain nuts, xylitol, or raisins?
- Are the wrappers missing?
- Is your pet displaying any unusual behavior or signs of illness?
Seeking Professional Guidance
Once you have gathered as much information as possible, it’s crucial to reach out for expert advice. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-888-222-1222. Their team of 24/7 veterinarians specializes in toxin exposures and will provide the best plan of action for your situation.
In many cases, they will assure you that your beloved companion has not consumed a toxic amount of candy. However, there are instances where a visit to the veterinarian is necessary.
Treatment often involves inducing vomiting under veterinary supervision. This process eliminates the offending substances from your pet’s system, ensuring their safety. It’s important to note that certain substances can cause severe damage if vomited back up, so it’s essential to have a professional determine if it’s safe for your pet.
After inducing vomiting, hospitalization may be required. Veterinary hospitals can administer intravenous fluid therapy, activated charcoal, and monitor blood chemistry values. At Katten TrimSalon, we offer comprehensive treatment services for emergencies during business hours, including:
- In-House Diagnostic Blood Testing
- Digital Radiology
- Oxygen Therapy
- Blood Transfusion Capability
- Complete In-House Pharmacy
- Multi-modal Pain Management
- 24-hour ICU Nursing Care (on a case-by-case basis)
- Surgical Services
For after-hours emergencies, we recommend reaching out to Pinnacle Veterinary Specialists, The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware (Blue Pearl), Blue Pearl Malvern, The Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, VRC, or PETS – Pet Emergency Treatment and Specialties.
Why Is Chocolate So Toxic to Dogs?
Let’s dive into why chocolate poses a threat to our furry friends. Chocolate contains two potentially toxic substances: theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals act as diuretics, cardiac stimulants, blood vessel dilators, and smooth muscle relaxants. Dogs aren’t as efficient at metabolizing theobromine and caffeine as humans, making them more susceptible to the effects of these substances.
The Dangers of Chocolate Ingestion
The toxicity of chocolate varies depending on the type. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for dogs. Baking chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate are highly concentrated and contain 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce. On the other hand, common milk chocolate only contains about 44-58 mg/ounce.
While white chocolate poses a minimal threat in terms of theobromine, it can still make dogs sick due to its high fat and sugar content. For perspective, a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would need to consume just 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 9 ounces of milk chocolate to exhibit potential signs of poisoning.
Identifying Signs of Chocolate Toxicity
The clinical signs of chocolate toxicity depend on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. Vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms in many cases. Dogs may also experience increased thirst and urination, restlessness, panting, and an accelerated heart rate.
Severe cases can lead to muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure. The symptoms of chocolate poisoning take several hours to develop and may persist for days due to theobromine’s long half-life.
Treatment for Chocolate Toxicity
The treatment for chocolate toxicity depends on the amount and type of chocolate consumed. If detected early, inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal to block absorption may be sufficient.
Theobromine is re-absorbed from the bladder, so intravenous fluids are necessary to speed up urinary excretion and prevent further complications. Close monitoring for agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, or cardiac issues is essential after chocolate ingestion.
Remember, we want your Halloween to be filled with fun, not emergency room visits. Keep your candy out of reach by storing it in tall cabinets or locked pantries. Have a happy and safe holiday!
Written By: Tara Corridori, LVT
Edited By: Dr. Corrina Snook Parsons VMD
Information Obtained By: vcahospitals.com