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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16714
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Are cocoa covered almonds poisonous to dogs? My 1 year old

Customer Question

Are cocoa covered almonds poisonous to dogs? My 1 year old puppy found a package and ate abou10/12.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your girl found and ingested 10-12 cocoa covered almonds.
Almonds are not toxic but they are difficult to digest, especially if she didn't chew them. They can cause nausea, vomiting and if she didn't chew they can cause a partial obstruction.
Chocolate especially cocoa can be toxic, but they must eat a certain amount per pound of body weight to get sick.
You don't say how much she weighs. At 15 pounds she would need to eat 0.17 ounces of cocoa to see symptoms of drooling, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and 0.35 ounces to see hyperexcitability and an elevated heart rate.
At higher amounts we can see muscle tremors and possible seizures.
To give you a point of reference most normal chocolate bars are 2.25 ounces. Do you think she ate more then 0.17 ounces of cocoa?
If it has been less than 2 hours since she ingested the chocolate almonds and it is well worth inducing vomiting.
You can give her 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide soaked up with bread or a small amount of food.
Then take her outside and run her around to get the peroxide bubbling so she vomits.
If no vomiting in 10 minutes repeat the peroxide bread dose once.
If she vomits and seems to clear her stomach and be done I would check to see if most or all of the chocolate almonds are present.
If it has already been 3 hours or more it is likely the chocolate is out of her stomach and it is probably too late to induce vomiting. At that 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.
If she seems at all nauseous it may help to with-hold food for the next 12 hours to stop intestinal spasms.
To try and settle her stomach you can give either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at 1/4 of a 10mg tablet for a pup her size every 12 hours
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at 1/4 of a 10mg tablet for a pup her size 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. Add 1 tablespoon of canned pumpkin (not pie filling, just pumpkin) to each meal to help push the nuts through. Feed small meals frequently.
If you do notice a very rapid heart rate (more than 160 to 180 beats per minute in a small dog) 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, let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry I am not set up for a phone call. If you would like we can continue communicating this way, or I can opt out and see if another expert that is set up for phone calls would like to pick this up.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I see any symptoms I will call you back. I hope all is good. SHe has a tendency to eat anything and everything in sight. Than ks, Judy Kroeger.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Please feel free to reply if you have any questions and she begins to show symptoms, Dr. Kara.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I was just checking in to see how your girl was feeling. Please let me know how she fared, or if you have any further questions, Dr. Kara.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She did fine. She must have chewed part of them as her first stools had many pmall pieces of nuts. The next day she had full almonds. My daughter suggested using a wet warm cloth on her rectum and after was able to poop. She has been fine since. Thanks for your help. I didn't use the peroxide since she was able to poop. ****
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Thanks very much for the update on your girl. I am pleased to hear that she had no serious effects from the chocolate or not chewing up the nuts as well as she could have.
Peroxide to induce vomiting is only really helpful for the first couple of hours. Once 2 hours or so had passed the chocolate and nuts were out of her stomach and inducing vomiting would not be of any help.
Since she remains well she should have no effects now from her adventure, chocolate toxicity effects will show up within the first 4-6 hours and if the pup remains fine 24 hours out from ingestion then we have passed the danger point and she should remain so.
Best of luck to you and your girl, thanks for letting me know she is well, Dr. Kara.