My Beagle Ate Chocolate! – A Quick Guide
Let’s be honest: It’s almost no surprise if your beagle ate chocolate.
After all, we humans love our chocolate 365 days a year.
Unfortunately; the delicious cravings we have for it is poisonous to our beagles, in all forms.
Therefore, we must keep it out of their reach entirely. Let’s discuss this.
Is Chocolate Bad for Beagles?
In a word — Yes.
Chocolate contains nothing that dogs need and certainly many things that they do not.
There are varying degrees depending on the type, but we’ll discuss that later.
However, the fact of the matter is: chocolate is considered one of the 10 most common causes of toxicosis involving dogs, according to the ASPCA.
Veterinarians have known for quite some time that chocolate is dangerous.
They see a logical uptick in cases of chocolate toxicosis during the holiday seasons, when we are more likely to be having chocolate products lying around our homes.
Why Is Chocolate So Bad for Beagles?
The toxic component in chocolate that makes it so bad for beagles is a chemical called theobromine.
Since beagles metabolize it so slowly (approximately 18 hours), higher levels could build up in their bodies to the point of toxicity.
Theobromine is a vasodilator, which means it widens your blood vessels.
I’m sure you’re probably thinking — can’t that be a good thing; improving blood flow?
Well, in the past: theobromine was used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure).
It also is a heart stimulant, nervous system stimulant, and diuretic (makes you urinate).
As you could imagine in large enough quantities, it can be harmful to anything that consumes too much.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning?
Early symptoms vary widely based on your individual beagle.
However, general symptoms may encompass the following:
- Increased urination
- Elevated or abnormal heart rate
- Coma and/or death
As mentioned before, if a large enough quantity of theobromine is consumed, things can escalate badly quite rapidly.
Larger amounts consumed may cause a seizure, and if untreated may even become comatose.
Yes, as much as we don’t want to discuss it — fatalities can and do occur.
How Much Chocolate Is Poisonous To My Beagle?
The amount of potential toxicity from theobromine is based primarily on 3 variables:
The type of chocolate your beagle ate, the weight of your beagle, and the time of ingestion.
In reference to the type of chocolate: The darker and more bitter the chocolate is, the more hazardous it is to your pupster.
Cocoa powder (most toxic) baking and gourmet chocolate are especially toxic, as they are highly concentrated. They contain 130mg to 450mg of theobromine per ounce.
Common milk chocolate generally contains 44 to 58mg per ounce.
White chocolate, on the opposite side of the spectrum, rarely poses any lingering threats as it only contains roughly 0.25mg per ounce.
Levels of toxicity can be as low as 44 mg/lb, in an otherwise healthy beagle.
Hyperactive behavior and gastrointestinal upset (all of which could smell like chocolate) may be seen.
At levels over 88 mg/lb, cardiac episodes can be observed, including tachycardia (rapid heart rate), heart arrhythmias and/or high blood pressure.
At levels over 132 mg/lb, neurological indicators may be seen, including twitching, tremors and possibly seizures.
Fatalities have been seen at around 100 mg/lb or when complications occur.
What Can I Do If My Beagle Eats Chocolate?
Time is of the essence. Your and your little buddy are going for a road trip — No ifs, ands or buts about it.
Now, if you’re not close to your veterinarian’s office, go to the closest animal hospital you can find.
Their veterinarian will very likely try to induce vomiting. Some beagles will involuntarily start, but for the others — this will become a priority.
Yes, the thought process of purposefully making your dog vomit may take an emotional toll, but now is not the time to get overwhelmed.
It is necessary to ensure their higher chances of survivability.
How Do I Induce My Beagle Into Vomiting At Home?
Things that you can immediately utilize:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Water or vanilla ice cream
Provide your beagle a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide.
By mixing it with water or vanilla ice cream, it becomes much more palatable.
If he or she hasn’t vomited within 30 minutes, do not give them another dose of hydrogen peroxide.
Another viable option is to grab some grass. Remember, most beagles will instinctively seek and eat grass if they’ve ingested something that disagrees with their stomachs.
Physical activity is also important, as a walk of even a few minutes can help further induce vomiting.
If these listed above are still not producing desirable results, provide them with treats or food, that you know that they will enjoy and that are safe. That will help to absorb some of the chocolate that your beagle ate from their digestive tracts, and ultimately will reduce the theobromine potency.
Remember, even your beagle is showing signs of improving, you are highly advised to seek veterinary attention to ensure that they have fully recovered.
What Are The Veterinary Treatments For Chocolate Poisoning In Beagles?
Treatment parameters are dependent on the type of chocolate and the amount consumed.
If treating early enough, your veterinarian will likely administer medications that induce vomiting and block further absorption of the theobromine, which may be all that is necessary to stabilize them. Since the rate at which your beagle will metabolize is slow (approximately 18 hours), activated charcoal may be administered every four to six hours for the first 24 hours. This is to reduce the continued resorption and recirculation of any remaining theobromine.
For more severe cases, other supportive treatments may include intravenous fluid therapies.
Didn’t I See A Dog Treat That Contains Chocolate? Isn’t That Dangerous?
More than likely, the “chocolate” you are talking about is actually carob.
Carob does look & taste similarly, however, it’s not harmful to beagles; so it’s easy to see how they can often be confused.
Personally for my beagle, I’m a fan of Three Dog Bakery Classic Cremes Dog Treats, available on Amazon.
I have an admission — I tried one myself. Gotta admit: It was pretty damn good, all things considered.
How to Prevent My Beagle From Eating Chocolate?
Make it Inaccessible:
Keep it out of your beagle’s reach. What I use as a basic guideline is if a young child can’t get to it, then my beagle won’t be able to either. Don’t make it easy. Don’t leave it unattended on a counter or table. Store everything away.
You will want to ensure that all of your family and friends are on board. Now, I’m not saying as soon as someone walks through the door, you state this. It’s more situational.
Example: If you know you’ll be partaking in foodstuff that consists of chocolates, I’d use that as an opening to bringing it up briefly. Birthdays, holidays, etc.; are a time you should be particularly aware of rogue pieces of chocolate.
Important side note: Not only should be mindful of candies and baked goods but even your garden. Yes — I said your garden. Make sure to avoid gardening with cocoa bean mulch, which also contains toxic amounts of theobromine. Didn’t think about that, did you? I know I didn’t.
Take a proactive approach before they even get into anything, but teaching them the “leave it” command, if something falls to the ground or is within their reach.
The nearly fool-proof way of guaranteeing that your beagle will not reach any chocolates is placing them into their crate, if you’re unable to supervise him or her. To help ensure their comfort; provide a blanket, toys, and even a few dog treats.
Be mindful of any chocolates within your beagle’s reach.
If your beagle ate chocolate, get them to your veterinarian ASAP.
Better to be safe than sorry.
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