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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16119
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 78 lb Black Lab/Retriever Cross ate approximately 20

Customer Question

My 78 lb Black Lab/Retriever Cross ate approximately 20 chocolate pieces of candy after
she got them off the top of a dresser, knocking everything down to get them while I had my mom to the doctor. This was at approx. 1615 this afternoon which was almost 5 hours ago. She seems fine, ate a can of green beans which she does for supper every evening. Should I be watching her for anything specific after this approx. 5 hr time span? She seems her normal self, playing outside in the snow with the neighbor's dog and cat, chased around the yard and helped me take the garbage out. She has seizures and takes Phenobarbital 64.8mg q.12hrs and Potassium Bromide 500 mg at h.s.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that Angel ingested about 20 pieces of chocolate approximately 5 hours ago, yet seems perfectly normal.

Were these all pure chocolate? Or were they chocolate covered candy?

Were they milk chocolate, white chocolate or dark chocolate?

A 78 pound pup would need to eat almost 12 ounces of milk chocolate (3/4 of a pound) to see symptoms of drooling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and 22 ounces of milk chocolate to see hyper-excitability and an elevated heart rate.

At higher amounts we can see muscle tremors and possible seizures.

Since it has already been 5 hours it is likely the chocolate is out of her stomach and it is too late to induce vomiting.

At this point you cannot change things much at home, all you can do is watch her for further symptoms now.

I would encourage you to get her to drink as much as possible and to get her out to urinate frequently. Chocolate toxins are metabolized out through the kidneys and can be reabsorbed from the bladder so we don't want them to sit in her bladder for long.

In most cases mild chocolate toxicity is out of their system in 24 to 48 hours. We generally begin to see symptoms, if they eat a toxic amount, within 4 to 6 hours. So she should be starting to show symptoms soon if she is going to show them.

It may help to with-hold food for the next 12 hours to stop intestinal spasms.

If she seems at all nauseous to try and settle her stomach you can give either:

1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours (two 10mg tabs for a pup her size)

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one 20mg tablet per 40 to 80 pounds of body weight every 24 hours

These are acid reducers and should help her feel less nauseous. They are quite safe and can be used for several days if needed.

Then after her 12 hours food fast to decrease the symptoms of stomach upset you can feed her a bland diet for the next couple of days. A homemade bland diet is a mix of 1/3 boiled minced white skinless chicken or lean boiled hamburger and 2/3 boiled white rice mixed with some low salt chicken broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow. Feed small meals frequently.

If you do notice a very rapid heart rate (more than 160 beats per minute) repetitive tremors or seizures then she should be seen by a veterinarian on an emergency basis for treatment. They can use injectable medications to control her heart rate and stop the seizures until the toxic levels fall.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.