Halloween is a lot of fun for parents, children and adults, but it can be a dangerous time for your pets. Unfortunately, October through December is our busiest time each year for pet emergencies, especially those that could be avoided. Please take extra caution this time of year and keep your pets safe!
In most neighborhoods, Halloween night will keep your doorbell busy with adorable children trick or treating. Because your door will be open so many times, the odds of your pets escaping into the night is high. Consider locking your pets on a different floor, or sitting outside to greet the trick-or-treaters.
Too much chocolate might give us an upset stomach, but chocolate is actually toxic to pets, particularly dogs. That’s because chocolate contains two ingredients, caffeine, and theobromine. These aren’t dangerous to humans but are harmful to dogs. Unlike humans, who can quickly digest and metabolize this naturally occurring chemical, canines metabolize it much slower, and as a result, theobromine can stay in their systems for up to 18 hours. In this way, excessive chocolate can make dogs very sick and can be fatal in large doses.
Dogs may have different reactions based on their size and weight as well as the type of chocolate consumed. That’s because different chocolates have different amounts of theobromine concentrations. Baker’s chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate contain highly concentrated amounts of theobromine, often between 150 and 450 grams per ounce, while milk chocolate often has around 64 grams per ounce. However, as little as 20 grams can cause toxicosis to set in and symptoms to appear.
Signs and Symptoms
Theobromine is initially absorbed in a dog’s gastrointestinal tract, and because it stays in their system longer it can spread throughout their body affecting their respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. Symptoms usually appear within six to 12 hours of consumption and include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and excessive thirst. If your dog has consumed a large amount of chocolate the symptoms may be more severe resulting in high blood pressure, muscle tremors, or even seizures.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate
If you think your dog has ingested chocolate, it’s important to contact a veterinarian immediately. Providing information like your dog’s weight as well as an estimation of how much chocolate they ate helps determine whether a toxic amount has been consumed. If it has, the vet can take steps to help remove the theobromine from your dog’s system by using medication to induce vomiting and administering active charcoal to help your dog’s body block the absorption of theobromine.
The best way to keep your dog healthy this Halloween is to make sure that you keep any chocolate out of reach of any curious canines. If you have more questions about your pet’s health, call us at 513-738-9691 or email us at [email protected]. For more pet care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn!