All dogs are accomplished beggars and sometimes it is difficult to resist those puppy dog eyes, but there are a number of human foods which are incredibly toxic for our dogs. This includes chocolate!
Dogs and chocolate do not mix! Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are poisonous to dogs. If your Cavapoo dog eats chocolate and starts to show signs of chocolate poisoning, then you should contact your vet immediately.
Many of us chomp on chocolate eggs at Easter, but what happens when your Cavapoo finds your secret stash and devours it?
Here we explain why this sweet treat is so toxic, what to do if your dog eats chocolate or any other sweet treats that they shouldn’t, signs of chocolate poisoning, and alternative Easter treats to tantalize your pups palate.
Why is chocolate dangerous for my dog?
Most of us crave a bar of chocolate when we are in need of a quick sugar fix. This is because chocolate contains caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system, keeping us alert and awake.
As most dogs wake up bright eyed and waggy-tailed, there should be no need for them to sniff out a sugary snack. However, as any dog owner will know, given half a chance our mischievous four legged friends will hoover up anything and everything in sight!
But, as caffeine is a stimulant, it can cause serious side effects should your dog ingest it. It can increase your Cavapoos heart rate, making them hyperactive, restless and jittery, and even cause your dog to experience seizures.
On top of this, chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is also highly toxic to dogs as they are unable to break down, or metabolise, theobromine like humans can. Again, like caffeine, theobromine mainly affects a dog’s gut, heart, central nervous system and kidneys; causing sickness, diarrhoea and in severe cases, it can even be fatal!
How much chocolate can a dog eat?
Ideally you do not want your dog to be eating any chocolate at all, but if you do discover a discarded wrapper, then don’t panic, as different types of chocolate contains varying degrees of theobromine.
Generally, the darker the chocolate the greater the threat for your dog. And whilst white chocolate and milk chocolate contain less theobromine in comparison, baking chocolate and cocoa powder are particularly dangerous for our dogs.
Chocolate toxicity is determined by the size, age and health of your dog. On average a Cavapoo weighs between 12-25lbs. As dark chocolate contains 390 mg caffeine per oz, a Cavapoo the size of Rosie (15lbs) would only need to eat 3 or 4 ounces to become violently ill.
If you need to work out whether or not your dog has eaten large amounts of chocolate, then use this dog chocolate calculator for an approximate guide.
How to tell if your dog has eaten chocolate?
Whether you are lucky enough to catch your Cavapoo in the act, discover chocolate remnants all over their lips or have to hunt for clues from scrunched up wrappers, your dog will start to display some key symptoms of chocolate poisoning. These tend to start to become obvious 6-12 hours after your dog has eaten the chocolate.
In order to determine if your dog ate chocolate, look out for the following signs:
- Extreme thirst and dehydration (this includes panting and the licking of lips)
- Vomiting (you may notice some wrappers or signs of chocolate within this)
- Diarrhoea (as above look out for signs of what they may have ingested)
- Hyperactivity cause by caffeine stimulation or pacing up and down
- Increased body temperature
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Rapid breathing
- Speeding heart rate
If not caught early enough, then advanced signs of chocolate poisoning include cardiac failure and severe weakness, which could result in your dog falling into a coma.
What to do if your Cavapoo dog eats chocolate?
If you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and we would therefore recommend that you call your vet right away.
No matter the amount of chocolate consumed, or the size of the dog, your vet can advise you of the best thing to do.
Some Cavapoos might not show any clinical signs of chocolate poisoning, but if your dog ate chocolate then early intervention is key to successful treatment. Please do not wait until they start to show signs of feeling sick.
How to treat a dog with chocolate poisoning?
It is a simple case of what went in, must come out, so the first form of treatment that your vet will want to explore for your dog, is to induce vomiting.
It is really important that the toxin is removed from your dogs system before it enters the bloodstream. This drug is usually administered intravenously and alongside this, activated charcoal may also be used to absorb any of the remaining poison from the stomach.
As vomiting can lead to dehydration in dogs, this treatment is usually closely monitored and often supported with IV fluids. This also help with diarrhoea and can support the kidney function.
Others medications may be needed to treat additional symptoms depending on how severe the poison is. This could be to combat muscle tremors and seizures, lower your dogs blood pressure or to stabilize an irregular heartbeat.
This may mean an overnight stay or two for your Cavapoo and a costly bill to pay at the end. But, it is a small price to pay if it means that you get to take home a healthy dog at the end of it.
Can chocolate kill Cavapoo dogs?
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can make them very ill, however, it is rarely fatal.
In order for your dog to experience toxic effects, it will need to have consumed theobromine doses of 20 mg/kg, with severe signs at 40-50 mg/kg and seizures at 60 mg/kg.
This is according to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, who state that out of 1,000 dog chocolate toxicity cases recorded on its database, only five dogs actually died.
That said, it is believed that there are probably many unreported cases of dog chocolate toxicity, so it is always best to air on the side of caution and seek treatment regardless of the amount consumed.
How to keep your dog safe from eating chocolate
My husband is a self confessed chocoholic and with Easter just around the corner our cupboards are sure to be stacked with bars of milk chocolate for me and dark chocolate for him. And that’s before the kids have even got a look in!
But in order to ensure that our Cavapoo is kept well away from the good stuff, there are a number of things we try and implement. So if you want to keep your dog safe from eating chocolate here are our top tips:
- Never give your dog chocolate – not even as a reward.
- Make sure that all your chocolate items are stored out of reach.
- Train your dog to ‘drop’ or ‘leave’ on command.
Safe chocolate Easter gift ideas for dogs
If you don’t want your dog to miss out on special occasions such as Easter or Valentines Day, then there is a dog friendly chocolate alternative.
Free from cocoa, wheat and gluten, carob is not harmful to your dog like human chocolate can be, making it the perfect safe treat option this Easter.
You can buy carob easter eggs online – like this one here from Hatchwells – or at most pet stores.
DIY Easter treat dog baskets
Alternatively why not make your Cavapoo their own Easter treat basket this year, so that they keep their paws off yours?
Combining all their favorite goodies you could bake a peanut butter dog friendly cake, entertain your pup with a selection of squeaky easter bunny toys or let them go on their own easter hunt to find some missing treats with these fabulous interactive dog puzzles.
For more information on Cavapoo toys that will keep your furry friend amused for hours on end, then check out our informative blog.
We are lucky in that we have not had any chocolate disasters with our dog (although she did once swallow a plum seed – but that’s a whole other blog!), but I do feel confident that if we did, we would be well-equipped for dealing with the situation.
If your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t; be that chocolate, raisins, grapes, mushrooms or nuts etc; the most important thing to remember is to collect the evidence and call the vet.