A lot of people have come to me with histories of dogs which have fallen sick or worst still have died after ingesting cakes. Some narratives include birthdays or other parties where cake(s) were taken. Certainly, although unknown to many, this may be an ideal case of chocolate intoxication in dogs.

Why is chocolate toxic in dogs while safe in humans?

Chocolate contains methylxanthines particularly theobromine and caffeine. Humans unlike dogs, can metabolize and excrete methylxanthines such as theobromine much more efficiently than dogs which are far more sensitive to them. Various types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines.

Symptoms seen in theobromine toxicity in dogs

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Fever
  4. Muscle rigidity and ataxia
  5. Rapid breathing
  6. Increased heart rate
  7. Hypotension
  8. Convulsions
  9. Severe clinical signs include: cardiac failure, weakness, and coma.

Common household items/foods with theobromine.

• Candies
• Fudge
• Ice Cream rich chocolate Cookies
• Brownies commercially prepared
• Doughnut, cake-type,
• Chocolate Chip
• Birthday cakes
• Queen cakes

What should I do if my dog ingests chocolate?

The first necessary thing to do is withdraw access to chocolate containing food from the reach of the dog. Dogs which have ingested chocolate should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. Remember the prognosis is usually better when treatment is done early.