Chocolate is poisonous to dogs; however, the hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and your dog’s size. In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog.
Why not chocolate ?
– The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
– A large dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects.
– A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
– With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.
The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed above, call your veterinarian immediately.
If you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to call and go to your veterinarian right away. Do not wait.
Different chocolate types have different theobromine levels. Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest. If you’re dealing with any quantity of dark or bitter chocolate, err on the side of caution. The high level of theobromine in dark chocolate means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate ?
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and depending on the type and amount of chocolate consumed and the weight of your dog, it could cause a serious medical emergency. That said, if your dog ate a small amount of milk chocolate, you don’t necessarily need to panic. Learn how much is too much, which types of chocolate are the most dangerous, and what signs to look for that may signal your dog needs treatment.
Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, both which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs, the Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health explains. The risk of your dog becoming sick from ingesting chocolate depends on the type and amount of chocolate consumed and the weight of the dog (calculate your dog’s risk of toxicity with this easy-to-use program). The concentrations of these toxic substances varies among different types of chocolates. Here are a few types of chocolate listed in order of theobromine content:
1. Cocoa powder (most toxic)
2. Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
3. Semisweet chocolate
4. Dark chocolate
5. Milk chocolate
6. White chocolate (not very toxic)
What are the Signs of Chocolate Poisoning ?
Signs of chocolate poisoning usually appear within 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten it, may last up to 72 hours, and include the following:
4. Increased urination
6. Elevated or abnormal heart rate
8. Collapse and death