There are two things that every pet owner should be aware of when it comes to chocolate cereal: the dangers and symptoms. The dangers of eating chocolate cereal can range from mild illness all the way up to death depending on how much is eaten.
Read on to learn how you can help your pup if they’ve eaten chocolate cereal and what to do in case of an emergency.
What Happens if My Dog Ate Chocolate Cereal?
If your dog has eaten chocolate cereal, you should watch it carefully for symptoms. If your pup is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, then it’s time to seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
- Lack of energy
- Tremors or seizures
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal swells
Chocolate cereal contains less cocoa powder than chocolate bars, but it still contains theobromine and caffeine. These two ingredients are what makes chocolate poisonous to dogs. Theobromine is a cardiac stimulant while caffeine is a diuretic. When combined, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death.
If your dog has eaten chocolate cereal, call your veterinarian and take it in immediately. If it is after business hours, you can contact a poison control center. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your pup.
Why Is Chocolate Poisonous For Dogs?
Chocolate is harmful to dogs because it contains an ingredient called theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant that can affect your dog’s heart and nervous system, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination or lack thereof (they’re not thirsty because they aren’t drinking), tremors, and seizures in more severe cases.
Darker chocolate contains more of theobromine than milk chocolate does, and baking chocolate has the most theobromine of them all. Cereals contain cocoa powder and may have different concentrations of theobromine.
White chocolate does not contain theobromine and is therefore not harmful to dogs. However, it can still cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea because of the other ingredients it contains, such as an excessive amount of sugar and fat.
What to Do if My Dog Ate Chocolate Cereal?
There are a few steps you can take if you realize that your dog has eaten chocolate cereal.
First of all, try to figure out how much they ate and what type of cereal it is (milk chocolate, dark chocolate). If your dog has only eaten a small quantity, then there’s no need for medical treatment.
If, however, you believe that your furry friend may have ingested enough cereal poison to cause severe symptoms or they might have eaten dark chocolate, then you should take them to the veterinarian immediately.
If your dog has only ingested a small amount of cereal and they seem well enough, try offering them something high in fat content such as peanut butter or canned cream. This will help slow down absorption, which can lessen symptoms. You can also offer water if your dog seems thirsty.
If your pup is showing any of the symptoms listed above, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. If it’s after business hours you can contact a poison control center for further advice on how to proceed with treatment at home.
Please note that most vets will not induce vomiting, so if this has already been done, don’t worry. Just focus on trying to keep them hydrated and monitoring their symptoms.
What Are the Signs of Poisoning in Dogs?
If you are ever worried that your dog has ingested something poisonous, there are a few key signs to look out for.
Symptoms of poisoning can vary depending on what the dog has eaten, but some common ones include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, tremors or seizures, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing.
Your dog may also need to urinate frequently since caffeine is a diuretic and can cause it to become dehydrated.
They may also start salivating excessively, which can also be caused by the diuretic effect of caffeine.
If your dog is showing any of these signs, you should take it to a veterinarian or call poison control immediately. If it’s after hours and they show serious symptoms like seizures, difficulty breathing (use their wheezing as an indicator), weak pulse, or they stop breathing, then start CPR.
Remember that every dog is different and some may not show all of the symptoms listed above after eating chocolate cereal. If you are at all concerned, please contact your veterinarian or poison control center for advice.
What Does Chocolate Poisoning Do To Dogs?
When a dog eats chocolate, it affects the dog’s heart, kidneys, and nervous system. In order for the chocolate to impact these systems, it must first be metabolized by the liver.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning vary depending on how much was eaten. If a dog eats approximately 200 grams of chocolate, it will likely have an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
When this amount increases to 500 grams, a dog will experience an increased heart rate, panting, and shaking. If a dog consumes 750 grams of chocolate, it is possible that it will experience seizures.
This is all dependent on the size and weight of the dog, as well as the type of chocolate eaten. White chocolate has very few stimulants and cocoa butter, so it is less harmful than dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is also less harmful because it contains more sugar and fat.
Should I Make My Dog Vomit After Eating Chocolate?
If you are able to gently induce vomiting, this may be a good idea. You can help and encourage your dog to fully vomit if they are gagging or retching.
However, you should not stress a dog out by aggressively trying to make them vomit. This can be too much strain on your dog’s body if it is already experiencing toxic symptoms from the chocolate.
Your vet may provide you with medicine that can induce vomiting, so make sure to have a talk with them before you take action.
How Soon Will a Dog Show Signs of Chocolate Poisoning?
It can take anywhere between two and six hours for chocolate cereal to cause symptoms in dogs. If you are worried that your dog has eaten enough to make them sick, it is best not to wait until the signs start before taking them in.
If however, they have only ingested a small amount of chocolate cereal or milk chocolate then there’s no need for immediate medical attention. Monitor them closely and if they start to show any symptoms, take them in to see the vet.
If your dog ate chocolate cereal, you should watch it carefully for symptoms. The dangers of eating chocolate cereal can range from mild illness all the way up to death depending on how much is eaten.
How Long After a Dog Eats Chocolate Will They Be Ok?
Chocolate poisoning can appear between 2 to 12 hours after your dog has ingested it. If your dog ate a small amount of chocolate cereal, they will likely be just fine after a day or two of rest and watching for symptoms.
It can take up to 72 hours for all symptoms to run their course. After this time, if your dog ingests a very large amount of chocolate, it may remain tired, lethargic, and have a loss of appetite for several days longer.
Make sure to keep a constant eye on your dog after they have consumed chocolate. If you’re unable to stay with them, have someone else do so, just in case there is an emergency.
If this behavior lasts longer than a week, it is best to take your dog in for a checkup. It may need more extensive testing if the chocolate poisoning is still affecting them. Take your dog in sooner than one week if you notice it is losing weight, has bloody diarrhea, seizures, or is having trouble breathing.
How To Make Sure Your Dog Doesn’t Eat Chocolate
There are some steps you can take to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat chocolate.
Store Chocolate Away: Make sure to store your chocolate in a place where your dog can’t reach it. This means putting it up high or in a cabinet that is closed.
Tell Other Household Members: If there are other people living in your house, make sure they know not to give chocolate to the dog. It’s also important that they know what symptoms to look out for if the dog does eat some chocolate.
Watch Your Dog: Keep an eye on your pup when they’re around any kind of food that could be dangerous, including chocolate cereal.
Don’t Leave Food Out: If you’re having a dessert, make sure to immediately put it back. Even a quick trip to the bathroom is enough time for a dog to snatch a chocolate bar off the counter.
Teach Your Dog “Leave It”: One of the best ways to train your dog not to eat things they shouldn’t is by teaching them the “leave it” command. This means that when you tell your dog this, they will stop what they are doing and leave whatever item is in their mouth.
Crate Your Dog or Restrict Access: If you’re not able to watch your dog at all times, put them in a crate or restrict their access to certain parts of the house. This will help keep them safe from things they shouldn’t be eating.
Be Careful on the Holidays: The holidays are a time when there is an increased risk of chocolate being left out and accessible to dogs. Make sure you are extra vigilant about keeping your chocolate away from your pup.
What Other Foods Are Toxic For My Dog?
It can be helpful to have a good idea of all the things that are toxic for dogs.
Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, fever, tremors, and weakness.
Xylitol: Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is found in many products such as gum, candy, and toothpaste. It is highly toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, seizures, and even death.
Onions: Onions can cause damage to red blood cells in dogs and lead to anemia.
Garlic: Garlic can have the same effects as onions on a dog’s red blood cells.
Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.
Yeast Dough: Yeast dough can rise and cause gas accumulation in a dog’s stomach. This can lead to bloat, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Cooked Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and cause damage to a dog’s internal organs, especially the intestines.
Milk: Milk is not good for dogs because they are lactose intolerant. It will give them diarrhea or other digestive issues.
Avocados: Avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs.
Coffee: Coffee grounds, beans, and tea contain caffeine which is toxic to dogs.
Steer clear of these foods and keep your dog safe. It can be easy to forget that these ingredients are in certain foods when they are in the form of seasonings, so be sure to read the label and make sure you know what is in your food.