Heads up, all you dog mamas out there: You'll want to keep a sharp eye out for signs of dog chocolate poisoning around Valentine's Day. Considering that 94 percent of American people crave chocolate around this holiday, it's crucial for you to make sure your beloved pet doesn't accidentally eat the wrong kind of treats.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), chocolate is one of the top pet toxins that dog owners need to keep far, far away from their precious pups. Of course, this advice is important to follow all year long, but any holiday where chocolate is the center of attention is likely to heighten the risk of dog chocolate poisoning.
That's why it's important right now for all pet parents to revisit their action plan on what to do if their dog eats chocolate and how to prevent them from doing so in the first place. If you don't have a plan yet, fear not. We did the hard work for you, and you can rest easy knowing you're prepared.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate
Chocolate has long been recognized as a common cause of intoxication in dogs due to theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine that can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, agitation, and even seizures in our furry little friends. If your dog accidentally ingests chocolate, call your vet immediately or dial the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice. Based on your dog's size and how much chocolate he or she ate, you may be asked to simply monitor the pup for symptoms of dog chocolate poisoning. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), these symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased urination, tremors, elevated or abnormal heart rate, seizures, and collapsing. In other cases, you may need to bring the animal straight to the clinic.
What to Do If Your Dog Gets Chocolate Poisoning on a Holiday
Now is a great time to check whether your vet or a local animal hospital is open on Valentine's Day — just in case any possible disaster should strike. The last thing you want is a dog chocolate poisoning crisis on a holiday with no clear plan about where you should go. The good news? The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour animal poison control service available all throughout the United States. So, even if the professional you usually go to for your pet is not available, it's comforting to know that there's at least someone looking out for your little buddy's well-being at all times.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Chocolate in the First Place
Ideally, you want to make sure your precious pooch doesn't get their paws into the sweet treats at all. The AKC suggests making sure all chocolate items are stored where dogs can't reach them. It's also worth reminding any young children or guests to keep their chocolate far away from the pup's reach. For future reference, teaching your dog the "Leave it!" command can be extraordinarily helpful for preventing them from eating anything they get close to — especially goodies that accidentally fall on the floor.
Let's be sure our dogs stick to only the most dog-friendly treats!