Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs – Can my Shiba Eat Chocolate?

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Chocolate is dangerous for your dog as it contains theobromine which has a stimulating effect on the nervous system. Dogs are much more sensitive to theobromine than humans are because they break down theobromine more slowly. Chocolate poisoning is one of the most common poisonings in dogs.

If your Shiba Inu has eaten chocolate seek veterinary advice immediately

If you think the symptoms are right for your Shiba Inu, you should seek the help of a veterinarian immediately.

Other animal species are also sensitive to chocolate, especially horses, but also cats, mice and parrots and more. Humans have a rapid metabolism of theobromine, which makes us less susceptible to poisoning. In dogs, the half-life of theobromine in the body is about eight times longer than in humans, which means that the substance accumulates in the body and affects various organ systems, first the central nervous system and later also the circulation, respiration and urinary organs.

Amount of chocolate

Even a very small amount of chocolate can be dangerous for your Shiba Inu. Symptoms of poisoning already occur when the dog has ingested 20 mg of theobromine / kg body weight and the lethal dose is about 100-200 mg / kg dog. In dark chocolate and in pure cocoa, the content of theobromine is at its highest, about 5-15 mg / g but can be up to 28 mg / g (ie 2,800 mg in a 100 gram chocolate cake). Milk chocolate contains relatively little theobromine, about 2mg / g, but can still be fatal if a small dog eats a large amount. White chocolate contains almost no theobromine and is therefore not dangerous for the dog.

Symptoms

Symptoms occur between 4 and 24 hours after ingestion and can persist for several days. Repeated chocolate intake is usually more dangerous than a single one because theobromine then accumulates in the body as time goes on.

A dog with chocolate poisoning gets symptoms such as increased body temperature, cramps, shakiness, vomiting, diarrhea and increased heart rate with arrhythmias. Other symptoms include increased thirst and urination, hyperactivity and hyperirritability.

Diagnosis

The dog owner often suspects that the dog has eaten chocolate, for example in the form of blank wrapping paper, which is an important task for the correct diagnosis to be made. If a dog comes to the vet with symptoms of chocolate poisoning, the vet generally asks if the dog may have ingested chocolate. A probability diagnosis can then be made based on the symptoms and the animal owner’s information.

Treatment

NOTE – Its not recommend that you try to induce vomiting with salt at home as this can lead to salt poisoning in the dog.

There is no antidote to theobromine but the treatment is symptomatic and supportive.

For the first 1-3 hours after ingestion, you can give the dog emetics in injection form. To prevent theobromine that has already passed into the intestine from being absorbed, activated carbon can be given and possibly laxatives, which speed up the intestinal passage.

In case of seizures, muscle relaxants and antispasmodics may be given and in case of heart attack, specific cardiac medication may be required to treat arrhythmia and palpitations. Problems such as vomiting require medication that protects the stomach and intestines.

If the dog survives the acute poisoning, it is usually completely recovered.