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Updated: Jan 31, 2022

We all love it, crave it and secretly stash it for those special occassions. But why Chocolate on a Lagotto Ramognolo site?

You certainly know that Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and I am sure that you know to keep it safely away from table edges, low coffee tables and other places where it may be acessible, but do you know how to respond in the event that your puppy or dog finds his way into your chocolate anyway? Do you know when it is time to worry? Do you have a plan in place in case you need assistance? We will cover the basics here:

  1. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. It contains both Caffiene and a naturally occuring chemical called theobromine. Dogs don't metabolize either well. It gets more complicated from there as not all chocolate is created equally. The purer or darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Gourmet or bitter cooking chocolate is the most dangerous while white chocolate has almost no theobromine at all. A little over a half ounce of dark or bakers chocolate can cause toxicity and poisoning in a 30-35 lb dog, while it would take 5 ounces of milk chocolate to accomplish the same thing in an adult lagotto.

  2. Signs that your dog has ingested toxic levels start with vomiting & diarrhea, increased thirst and restlessness. They can then include panting, excessive urination and a racing heart. More severe symptoms include tremors, seizures, and heart failure. If your dog has ingested more than the smallest amount of dark chocolate, immediate action is warranted.

  3. If treated immediately or very early, attempting to remove the chocolate from your dogs stomache is called for. At home, this can be done by administering 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. It typically works in 10-15 minutes and can then last for 45 minutes. First some guidelines, do not administer if the following conditions are observed:

  • Already vomiting.

  • Severely lethargic.

  • Comatose.

  • Decreased swallowing ability.

  • Difficulty breathing.

  • Seizures or hyperactive activity.

  • Recent abdominal surgery or megaesophagus (a generalized enlargement of the esophagus).

4. Steps:

  • A. If your dog hasn’t eaten within the last two hours, giving him a small meal can make it more likely that he will vomit.

  • B. Make sure you have a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Higher concentrations are toxic and can cause serious damage.

  • C. Administer the proper amount: the suggested dosage is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog’s body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds. But ask your veterinarian about the best dosage for your dog and only induce vomiting if your dog ate the substance within 2 hours.

  • D. Administer the dosage with a feeding syringe or turkey baster and squirt it from the side by pulling back his lips and squirting between his back teeth. You can also squirt from the front into the back of your dog’s tongue or mouth. Be careful not to let your dog inhale the substance, as this can lead to aspiration. If your dog doesn’t vomit within 15 minutes, you can give him a second dose.

  • E. Stay with your dog while he vomits. Collect the vomit for your vet to analyze, and do not let your dog re-ingest the material.

  • F. Keep an eye out for complications and adverse reactions, such as vomiting for more than 45 minutes, diarrhea, lethargy, bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), or gastric ulcers.

  • G. Follow up with your veterinarian as soon as possible. They may want to follow up with Activated Charcoal to absorb the remaining theobromine while it passes

It is best to keep your chocolate stashed safely away, but should you find your dog has found it, the above will serve as guidance on what to do. Many vets will walk you through the same process on the phone, so feel free to reach out as soon as possible.

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