Chocolates are poisonous to dogs and owners must try to prevent chocolate toxicity in German Shepherds. Just keep any food with chocolate or caffeine content out of your pet’s reach. However, despite taking all necessary precautions, your pet can still get access to food items that may contain chocolates. So, what should you do if your German Shepherd ate chocolates?
Chocolate Toxicity in German Shepherds: What Type and Amount Can Cause Poisoning in Your Pet
Theobromine and caffeine are methylxanthines found in chocolates. These compounds are stimulants and they cause severe health problems in dogs. It can affect your German Shepherd’s heart and nervous system – causing your pet to go into a panic state, have seizures, experience arrhythmia, turn into comatose, or die.
There are different types of chocolates. Each type contains different levels of theobromine and caffeine. However, caffeine levels found in chocolates are usually lower than theobromine levels.
How much methylxanthines does each type of chocolate contain?
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual:
- White chocolate has insignificant amounts of methylxanthines per ounce
- Milk chocolate has 44-64 mg/oz
- Sweet dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate has 150-160 mg/oz
- Baker’s chocolate (unsweetened) has 450 mg/oz
How much chocolate could cause toxicity in German Shepherds?
Chocolate toxicity in German Shepherds may occur when your pet consumes a toxic dose of these sweets.
- White chocolate – 200 oz/lb of your dog’s body weight
- Milk chocolate – 1 oz/ lb of your dog’s body weight
- Semi-sweet chocolate – 1 oz lb of your dog’s body weight
- Baker’s chocolate – 0.1 oz lb of your dog’s body weight
This means that a 70-pound German Shepherd can be poisoned if he eats:
- ~14000 ounces of white chocolate,
- ~70 ounces of milk chocolate (14 to 21 bars),
- ~70 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, or
- ~7 ounces of Baker’s chocolate
Your German Shepherd needs to consume a very large amount of white chocolate before he gets poisoned. Chocolate cakes, cookies, and candies – especially those that are made with Baker’s
chocolates – are considered the most lethal. If your German Shepherd ate Baker’s chocolate or any item that may contain it, call your vet right away even if you do not know how much he has gulped in.
Stop Chocolate Toxicity in German Shepherds: Induce Vomiting In Your Pet
Vets often recommend inducing dogs to vomit in case of chocolate consumption, especially if the consumed chocolate is dark or Baker’s.
To induce vomiting in your German Shepherd:
- Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water.
- Give your German Shepherd 5 ml of the solution per 10 lbs of his body weight. This means that a 70-lb German Shepherd needs 35 ml of the peroxide-water solution. You can use a spoon or a needle-less syringe to give it to your pet.
- You can also mix it with a bit of honey to make the solution sweet and interesting for your pet.
Your German Shepherd should vomit within 15 minutes. But if he doesn’t, you can repeat the procedure for one more time. Call your veterinarian if your German Shepherd does not vomit after the second dose of the solution.
Do not attempt to make your German Shepherd vomit if he is unconscious, having seizures, or has trouble breathing.
Use Activated Charcoal To Prevent Progress of Chocolate Toxicity in German Shepherds
Activated charcoal is a very useful item in case of a pet emergency. You can keep it in your German Shepherd’s first aid kit. It binds to toxins and prevents them from being absorbed into your German Shepherd’s blood. This item is usually given after vomiting is successfully induced. But if your German Shepherd does not vomit after two attempts, activated charcoal should be administered in higher doses.
Generally, poisoned dogs need 5 grams (1 tsp) of activated charcoal per 10 lbs of body weight. This means a 70-lb German Shepherd needs at least 35 grams or 7 teaspoons of activated charcoal.
In Case Your German Shepherd Ate Chocolates With Lesser Theobromine Content, Watch Out for Symptoms
If you suspect your German Shepherd has eaten chocolates, signs of toxicity may occur depending on the type and amount of chocolate he consumed. Dogs who eat white chocolates and milk chocolates in small amounts do not really experience toxicity. They also show no signs and symptoms.
On the other hand, consumption of toxic amounts of “milder” chocolates causes the following symptoms after a few hours.
- Frequent Urination
- Twitching of muscles
- Extreme excitement
If any of these symptoms show and progress, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
Take Your German Shepherd to the Vet As Soon As You Can
If your German Shepherd ate chocolates, it is necessary to take him to the vet. Even if you are successful in making him vomit, you need to consult your vet at the earliest to ensure that theobromine has not caused any damage to his body. Further treatment may be required to flush out the compound and the toxins out of your German Shepherd’s body.