On Easter Monday, Jett, a two year old Border collie, was brought to see us at the clinic. Jett’s owners had discovered he had eaten approximately half a kilo of dark chocolate. Chocolate contains an active ingredient known as Theobromine which can be fatal to dogs and cats.
Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, un-coordination (ataxia), excessive thirst/ urination, increased heart rate (tachycardia), fever (hyperthermia), seizures, coma, death.
When Jett presented to the clinic he was bright and alert with no vomiting or diarrhoea, though he did have an increased heart rate and elevated temperature. He also seemed a little uncoordinated.
As we were unsure when Jett ingested the chocolate, we induced vomiting to empty his stomach and fed him some activated charcoal to absorb what may be left in his gastro intestinal system. Jett was then placed on intravenous fluids to ‘flush’ out his system, and his temperature, heart rate, and heart rhythm were closely monitored.
Over the course of the day Jett regained full coordination and his temperature and heart rate returned to normal. He was kept in hospital for monitoring overnight and as all was well the next day, Jett was allowed to go home.
A dog of Jett’s size, approximately 22kg, only needs to ingest 150 grams of chocolate for it to cause a fatal reaction.
Cooking chocolate contains the highest content of Theobromine (14.1mg/gram). Dark Chocolate contains 5.3mg/gram, and milk chocolate contains 1.4mg/gram.
The lethal dose of theobromine is 4kg Cat 320- 600mg 5kg Dog 500- 1000mg 10kg Dog 1000- 2000mg 20kg Dog 2000- 4000mg
If you suspect your pet has just eaten some chocolate please contact us or your veterinarian immediately.