Although chocolate is a delectable treat for humans, it is not appropriate for dogs. Chocolate poisoning is a prevalent condition in dogs, and it’s usually caused by inadvertent intake. While chocolate is poisonous to dogs, the degree of toxicity varies depending on the type of chocolate consumed, the amount consumed, and the size of the dog.
We talked about Coconut consumption by dogs last time so today, we will learn how much chocolate is too much, which varieties are the most hazardous, what indications to watch for that may indicate your dog needs treatment and everything else you need to know about dog chocolate poisoning.
Why aren’t dogs allowed to eat chocolate?
Even if your dog does not absorb enough Theobromine from chocolate to become ill, feeding chocolate or any other form of sweets or processed sugar to your dog is not healthy for their general health. Obesity and diabetes are both risks for your dog. To maintain your dog at a healthy weight, treats of any sort (sweet or savory) should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s entire diet.
You might swear you saw chocolate on some fancy dog treats at the pet shop. It may be a brown-colored icing produced with food coloring or Carob, just to be sure. To replicate the look and flavor of chocolate while keeping your dog safe, several dog bakers utilize Carob coating or chips in their dog treats. It is safe for dogs since it does not contain theobromine or caffeine, as does chocolate. You should be able to request a comprehensive ingredient list. This will allow you to ensure that the chocolate used is carob rather than milk chocolate, as well as check for any allergies your dog may have.
What is the maximum amount of chocolate a dog can consume?
The dosage, like other poisons, determines the toxicity. To have difficulty, a big dog would have to consume a lot more chocolate than a little dog. To develop indications of toxicity from milk chocolate, a 50-pound dog would have to consume roughly 8 ounces. They’re probably not only eating chocolate; they’re probably eating a bag of sweets with almonds, nougat, peanut butter, or other goodies.
Whereas the dog would have to consume a significant amount of real chocolate to cause problems, the fat and sugar they consumed are equally harmful to their health. Pancreatitis can result from consuming too much fat and sugar at once. While your dog may not require medical attention if he or she consumes too much chocolate, it may require medical attention if they consume too many sweets.
It’s important to keep in mind that different types and brands of chocolate may include extra substances that are detrimental to dogs, such as sugar and caffeine. The amount of chocolate that your dog can eat is determined by several factors:
- Dog size: A 60g block of dark chocolate, for example, might be deadly to a 7kg dog, but a 60g block of white chocolate will most likely merely cause stomach distress.
- Chocolate kind (percentage of cocoa solids): The more poisonous chocolate is, the darker and bitterer it is.
- Individual differences in Theobromine metabolism in dogs: Just as alcohol is metabolized differently in different people, so is Theobromine.
As a result, a good rule of thumb is to never offer your dog chocolate!
Theobromine is hazardous at dosages of 100-150 mg per kilogram of body weight, however, issues have been recorded at levels as low as 20 mg/kg. In terms of practical application, using 100mg/kg as a guide, translates to:
- 60 grams of milk chocolate per kilogram of body weight
- 20 grams of semi-sweet chocolate per kilogram of body weight
- baker’s chocolate (about 7 grams per kilogram of body weight)
What is the amount of theobromine in chocolate?
Theobromine levels vary depending on the type of chocolate. There is virtually none in white chocolate (0.25 milligrams of theobromine in one ounce of white chocolate).
Milk chocolate contains a higher concentration of theobromine, with up to 45-60 milligrams per ounce. Good-quality chocolate and Baker’s chocolate contain even more theobromine, with one ounce of Baker’s chocolate containing up to 450 milligrams.
Remember that theobromine is exclusively found in chocolate, not in any of the yummy things that are paired with it. So the dog who ate two peanut butter cups ate primarily peanut butter and a small amount of chocolate.
When a Dog Eats Chocolate, What Happens?
If your dog eats too much chocolate, it might create significant health problems. Even if you aren’t certain your dog ate any chocolate, knowing what to check for is crucial. The intensity of the symptoms varies, and your dog’s reaction varies based on how much they consume and how sensitive they are to the Theobromide, much like it does with other poisonous foods like grapes.
Depending on the size of your dog and the amount of chocolate he or she has eaten. If your medium or big dog only eats a tiny amount of chocolate, you could only notice symptoms of an upset stomach, such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Seizures, tremors, irregular heart rate, heart attack, and internal bleeding may occur if your dog drinks a significant amount of chocolate or if you have a tiny dog who consumes chocolate.
An onset of intense enthusiasm generally precedes these indications. It is always important to pay keen attention to the dog to understand if there’s a deviation in the normal state of health.
What Can I Do If My Dog Consumes Chocolate?
- Don’t wait for your dog to show indications of poisoning if you believe they’ve eaten chocolate or witness them eating chocolate. Please contact your veterinarian right away. The sooner a dog is treated, the more likely it is to recover without complications.
- Contact your local emergency veterinary facility or the pet poison hotline if your veterinarian is unavailable. These experts will guide you through the process.
- It’s a good idea to retain or take a picture of the package to provide to the vet if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate. Depending on how long the chocolate has been in the dog’s system, treatment will vary.
Chocolate poisoning in dogs is treated with decontamination and care.The chocolate must first be eliminated from your dog’s system. If the chocolate was ingested within the previous hour, your veterinarian may be able to stimulate vomiting to just get the chocolate out from their system and keep them out of the hospital. This is another reason to contact your veterinarian as soon as your dog consumes chocolate. Keep in mind that you should never try to induce vomiting in your dog at home without the guidance of a veterinarian. If the chocolate has been ingested for more than a few hours or you are unsure when it was consumed, your veterinarian may need to provide activated charcoal or intravenous fluids through a catheter to assist remove the poisonous remnants of the chocolate from your dog’s system. If your dog isn’t displaying any indications of chocolate poisoning, this could be all they require.
Theobromine, a caffeine-like chemical found in chocolate, stimulates blood flow to the brain. Dogs have such a difficult time processing that they can easily consume enough to be toxic. Although few dogs consume enough chocolate to be deadly, even tiny quantities can trigger seizures and other (severe) symptoms.
VCA Hospitals’ Dr. Anha Brutlag writes”Baking chocolate and luxury dark chocolate are extremely concentrated, with 140-550 mg of theobromine per ounce, compared to 55-68 mg in ordinary milk chocolate. With just 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate, white chocolate presents less risk of chocolate poisoning (but dogs can still become ill from the fat and sugar, which can induce pancreatitis).”To put this in context, a 60-pound medium-sized dog would only need to consume 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 9 ounces of milk chocolate to exhibit indications of poisoning. Ingesting modest amounts of milk chocolate is not harmful to many dogs.
When it comes to toxicity, though, not all chocolate is created equal. What happens when a dog consumes chocolate varies depending on the sort of chocolate eaten. For example, baker’s cocoa and chocolate are the most poisonous, followed by dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.
While the dog’s clinical symptoms determine the treatment, it is almost certain that the dog would be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids, anti-nausea or anti-diarrhea medicines, anti-seizure meds, and other treatments. Because severe chocolate toxicity can be lethal, any dog suffering from the consequences of chocolate poisoning should be closely examined by a veterinarian. Chocolate toxicity might need hospitalization for as little as one day or as much as several days, and the cost of treatment can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the seriousness of the poisoning.
How to Keep Your Dog Away from Chocolate
Even while modest amounts of milk chocolate may not be harmful to larger dogs, it is still not a good idea to give your dog chocolate as a treat. Follow these guidelines to keep your dog from stealing chocolate:
Remove it from the room:
Ensure that all chocolate goods, such as cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix, are kept out of reach of the dog, or even on a high shelf in a closed cupboard. Remind your family and visitors that chocolate should not be left on counters, tables, or in handbags and should be kept out of reach of dogs. Keep this in mind throughout the holidays as well, placing trick-or-treat bags, Easter baskets, Valentine’s Day sweets, Christmas stockings, and Hanukkah coins (gelt) out of reach of dogs.
Teach the phrase “leave it” to your dog:
When it comes to keeping dogs from eating food that falls to the ground or is left within reach during a walk, the order “leave it” is quite successful. It’s also a rather simple command to teach.
Crate training your dog
This is the safest approach to ensure that your dog does not consume anything hazardous while you are not around. Make a pleasant, safe area for your dog to go to when he wants to be alone or when you can’t monitor him in a solid box large enough for him to stand up and turn around. To make him feel like the crate is his den, provide toys, a stuffed Kong, a favorite blanket, and treats.
All chocolate should be kept out of reach of dogs. About the holidays, when there are hidden chocolate goodies around the house or beneath the holiday tree, veterinarians observe an increase in chocolate poisoning cases. Chocolate is never a good reward for a dog, even in tiny amounts. Although dogs and chocolate aren’t a match made in heaven, there are plenty of tasty and safe treat choices to please even the most discerning canine.
One of the most essential methods to maintain your dog’s general health is to provide him a nutritious diet. Not only should you keep your dog away from things that he or she is allergic to, but you should also keep them away from anything poisonous. As you can see, chocolate is one thing you should never give your dog.
If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline right away. Your veterinarian may advise that you watch your dog for clinical symptoms and call back if his health worsens, depending on his size and the amount and type of chocolate ingested.
In some circumstances, the veterinarian may prefer that you bring your dog into the office. If your pet ate the chocolate within the last two hours, your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer multiple doses of activated charcoal to help the poisons exit the body without being absorbed into the bloodstream. In more severe cases, veterinarian intervention may be required to administer further therapy, such as medicines or IV fluids, to alleviate the poisoning’s symptoms. Seizures in dogs may necessitate overnight monitoring at the clinic.