09 December 2015

Dog Ate Milk Chocolate, What To Do? Symptoms? Treatment?

I guess you are here because your dog has accidentally swallowed what you think might be an overdose of milk chocolate. So how much is a toxic { Poisonous } dose of milk chocolate for dogs? What symptoms might you expect, and what treatment is possible?

milk chocolate dog
How much milk chocolate is poisonous to dogs?

1. How serious is this likely to be? : Well milk chocolate is less toxic than dark chocolate to dogs but this is still something you should take seriously. However if your dog has swallowed a significant amount of milk chocolate it is possible to fairly accurately predict how serious an overdose might be using a simple calculation.

The rule of thumb which I apply is that with milk chocolate mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when 2 ounces per pound of body weight is swallowed.

2. What side effects would be likely in an overdose situation? : The symptoms of chocolate poisoning would include vomiting and diarrhoea as well as frequent urination, and restlessness in the early stages. This can then progress to cardiac dysfunction, tremors and fits. Adverse symptoms will normally start to occur some two to three hours after ingestion.

3. What to do about it? :

A. As with a great many toxins if you can induce vomiting to recover the milk chocolate within the first hour after ingestion { Two hours at the very outside } then things should be OK. A commonly used way to induce vomiting in the dog is with 3% hydrogen peroxide { Not hair colouring peroxide } A usual oral dose is one teaspoon { 5 ml } per 10 pounds of body weight. Vomiting should occur within 15 to 20 minutes but if no vomiting occurs, you can safely repeat the process a second time.

B. Activated charcoal given orally as soon as possible after ingestion can often mop up some of the toxins, doses of around 2 gram per pound of the dog's bodyweight given three times a day for a few days have been used.

C. Where very minor symptoms are concerned and a lower amount of milk chocolate than is considered toxic was consumed and you are sure your dog is not deteriorating further you will normally be taking little risk in just observing your dog while the chocolate naturally works it's way out of your dog's system over a 24 hour period.

However where more serious side effects are occurring your best plan is to get your dog to a vet without delay, there is no specific antidote to chocolate poisoning in the dog but your vet will carry out any necessary symptomatic treatment and will be able to carry out a much higher scale of general support than you will be able to deliver at home.

D. But having said all of the above the golden rule is that is you become concerned in any way then the safest thing to do is to have your dog checked by a local vet without delay.

While milk chocolate generally presents only a moderate risk to dogs other forms of chocolate such as baking chocolate or dark semi-sweet chocolate can also present toxicity problems. If you want to read my take on the dangers related to these other forms of chocolate you can follow the links below.