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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16179
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My rat terrier ate approx 2.5-3 oz of mini semi-sweet chocolate

Customer Question

My rat terrier ate approx 2.5-3 oz of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. She weighs about 8 lbs. She has thrown up a lot and the vomitus contained identifiable chips early on, lots of mucus, an is thinning. She is drinking lots of water, devoured a small doggie treat, and doesn't seem hyper. Should I still be concerned?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long ago did she ingest this?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi again,
I have not heard back from you and you now appear offline. Since the clock is ticking with your wee one's situation, I do want to leave my thoughts and guidance for your return.
Now the difficulty of this situation is that it is difficult to determine the exact volume of chocolate she has absorbed if she did vomit some of the chips back out. Therefore, we have to consider this as a 3oz toxicity (or worst case scenario). And if we do, then we need to be aware that this is a severe/high dose for a dog this small. Therefore, we would expect the GI signs (vomiting, diarrhea) within 2-4 hours after eating this much (as you have) But since this was a high dose for her size, there is still risk of more severe signs. Specifically, we can see these dogs develop irregular/fast heart rate, abnormal breathing, tremors and even seizures (which can appear up to 12-36 hours post chocolate intoxication). So, we need to tread with care with your lass.
Since it has been a few hours and she is already showing GI signs from this, we are likely past a point where we can obtain much benefit from inducing vomiting. Therefore, we need to change our plan of attack. Since she is nauseous, we need to address that first. To do so, you can consider treating her with a antacid. There are a number on the market but the ones we tend to use in dogs are:
*Pepcid (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/famotidine-pepcid/page1.aspx#.VGJLgsn9XPg)
* Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/cimetidine-hcl-tagamet#.VE4NVBYYBaQ)
*Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/ranitidine-hcl-zantac/page1.aspx)
Of course, you need to check with her vet before use if she has any pre-existing issues or is on any medication you didn't mention.
Once that is on board, we can start binding residual chocolate toxin with activated charcoal now. This is available over the counter from the pharmacy and works to bind any remaining material in her stomach. Do make sure to purchase the high strength (grams) one as opposed to the version for gas (milligrams/tablet). For activated charcoal, we tend to give 1- 4 grams per pound is given every 8 hrs. This can be mixed with food or mixed with water to syringe in (do note that it stains, so keep it away from white carpets/clothes) and could limit the risk of this chocolate causing her trouble.
Finally, since we do have GI upset, further to the antacids, you can start her on small, frequent meals of light diet (ie boiled chicken, white fish, scrambled egg, or meat baby food -- as long as its free from garlic or onion powder -- mixed with white rice) to keep her stomach settled while she gets over the GI effects of the chocolate.
Overall, without knowing the total dose of chocolate she has absorbed, we are in a position where the level of toxicity could vary for her size. Therefore, since 3oz is a severe toxicity for her, would be best to be cautious at this stage. Therefore, do consider settling her stomach and then treating with activated charcoal to limit her risks. Further to this, we'd want to monitor her for any adverse signs and consider a light diet if any GI signs arise for her.
In this situation, just in case you do wish to see an emergency vet, you can check @ http://www.vetlocator.com/.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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