Chocolate is synonymous with the holiday season. While this is so, it’s important to remember that chocolate is highly toxic to dogs no matter the time of year but especially during the holidays when it’s more accessible. 

Here’s what pet parents need to know about chocolate and what to do if their dog has consumed it. 

Toxic Ingredients In Chocolate For Dogs

Two common ingredients in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. When dogs eat chocolate, these ingredients will trigger two things: A rapid heart rate and increased central nervous system activity. 

Theobromine is in many chocolate types, such as dark, milk, semi-sweet, and cocoa powder. 

Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning

Dogs generally present clinical signs of poisoning as early as 6 hours to as late as 12 hours after consumption — and these symptoms can last up to three days. The most common symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased water intake and frequent urination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Panting and restlessness

If a pet parent suspects their dog has ingested chocolate, contact a veterinary hospital immediately. Additionally, provide the veterinarian with the type and amount of chocolate was ingested.

Prevention Is Key

Always keep chocolate stored in an area away from dogs. Even dogs who usually aren’t counter surfers can make their way to the countertops when something smells good. During the holiday season’s hustle and bustle, keep certain that all chocolate products are away from a dog’s reach. If a pet parent cannot supervise their dog while guests are over enjoying their holiday meals and desserts, always err on the side of caution and find a secure spot for a dog to rest while the festivities are underway. 

And remember, if a dog accidentally consumes chocolate, contact a veterinarian right away because every minute counts.