NOTE: We no longer see exotic pets. We recommend Exotic Animal Hospital of Orlando (407-286-3484) & Winter Park Veterinary Hospital (407-644-2676)

It’s that time of year when we have more chocolate around the house than usual (well, unless you’re Tyler or Dr. Graves, a couple of our resident chocoholics). That means a few more opportunities for your pets to get into your stash. Don’t panic, we are only a phone call away, but here’s what to do when your dog or cat eats your chocolate.

1. Keep calm, and evaluate the situation.

Chocolate toxicity varies on a number of factors. Oftentimes, your pet will be a-okay with some soft stool for a few days depending on the exact details of what they ate. Things to note:

  • The type of chocolate your pet ate (dark, milk, white, baking chocolate, cocoa beans, cocoa mulch yes it’s a thing! )
  • How much did they eat? (a whole bag, 1 Hershey’s kiss)
  • What went down with the chocolate? (raisins, peanuts, wrappers, etc.)
  • How long ago did they eat it? (hours or minutes)

Consider those details when you call the clinic so we can best advise you on the next steps to take with your pet – and don’t forget to breathe!

2. Assess your pet.

Depending on how long it has been since your pet ate the chocolate, they may already be showing some symptoms.
If your pet is not alert or they are seizing, call us immediately at 407-239-7606 and come to the clinic for emergency care.
If your pet seems ok (ashamed, proud, or otherwise normal), look out for some common symptoms of an adverse reaction including:

  • Diarrhea/Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Muscle tremors/twitching
  • Increased drinking/urination
  • Excessive panting
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate with an abnormal rhythm

Let us know what you are seeing at home, so we can work together to treat your pet.

3. Do not try to induce vomiting unless you are instructed to do so by Dr. Hayes, Dr. Graves or our technicians!

In some cases, it may be too late to prevent the effects of eating chocolate by making your pet vomit and it can be harmful to your pet. DO NOT try to make your pet vomit without direct advice from the veterinary staff on how to do so safely. If we recommend inducing vomiting and you do not feel comfortable doing so, you can always come to the clinic for treatment. Usually, if the chocolate was eaten over 2 hours prior to you realizing, inducing vomiting will not be effective and could worsen your pet’s condition.

For more information about chocolate toxicity and other toxic things your pet may find this fall, check out this article on Pet Health Network!

As always, we are here to help. Contact the clinic if you run into a chocolate catastrophe!
If we aren’t here contact the Veterinary Emergency Clinic at 407-644-4449.
Or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (there may be a $65 consult fee) 24/7 every day of the year at (888) 426-4435.