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Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? No. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs as it contains a toxic ingredient called theobromine.
But, the toxicity level depends on the type and the quantity of chocolate consumed. If your dog happens to consume only a small piece, then there is no need for any panic. Large quantities, however, can kill your dog.
So, the dog’s weight must be taken into consideration to calculate the severity of health issues when a dog eats chocolate in large quantities. And, if you suspect that your dog eats chocolate, call the vet immediately and seek his advice.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate?
Chocolate contains chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine, which can induce the dog’s nervous system and increase the heart rate speed.
Theobromine is too hard for dogs to metabolize, which makes slow digestion and leads to the development of toxic levels in their system.
So, consuming a small amount of chocolate can make your dog’s stomach upset with vomiting or diarrhea.
But, a large amount of theobromine can cause internal bleeding, irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, seizures, or heart attack.
Different chocolate types have different theobromine levels
The concentration of theobromine varies with different types of chocolates. Here’s a list of different chocolate types with their theobromine levels present in 1 oz of them.
Generally, all cocoa products are toxic to dogs as they contain the highest levels of it. Baker’s chocolate is also scary.
Dark chocolate has higher theobromine content next to cocoa products. But, milk and white chocolate have the lowest levels of theobromine than baking chocolate.
Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms In Dogs
The symptoms usually appear anywhere between 6 and 12 hours after the dog has consumed chocolate and it can last for more than 72 hours. The most common symptoms are
We know dogs show symptoms of poisoning when they eat 20mg of theobromine (the toxic chemical in chocolate) for every kilogram they weigh. These symptoms become severe at 40 to 50mg per kg.
Your dog will also show other signs of chocolate poisoning such as
- Elevated heart rate
How Much Chocolate Is Toxic For Dogs?
It is based on the dog’s size and the type and amount of chocolate it consumes.
For example, a giant dog can do well with a bit of milk chocolate. But, a small amount of any kind of chocolate can be toxic to tiny dog breeds. Consuming even one chocolate bar can lead to serious consequences in small dog breeds.
So, weight matters a lot in chocolate consumption in canines. It will take much less chocolate to poison an 8-pound Yorkshire terrier than a 70-pound Labrador retriever.
The consumed amount of chocolate decides the toxicity levels in canines irrespective of size. Theobromine doses in the range of 100 to 150 mg per kilogram of bodyweight are poisonous to dogs.
So, as little as 3000 mg of theobromine can be fatal to a 30-kg Labrador retriever.
Next, the type of chocolate is vital to know the toxicity levels in dogs. You should always be aware of what foods and plants are toxic to dogs.
Chocolate Toxicity In Dogs
Both cocoa powder and Baker’s chocolate are unsafe for all dog breeds irrespective of their size.
Dark chocolate can be poisonous to all dog breeds. But, the severity of toxic levels varies based on the breed size.
Milk chocolate is toxic to canines next to dark chocolate. But, any dog breed can consume white chocolate as it is considered safe for it.
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What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate?
Don’t get panic if your dog has eaten chocolate. As the toxicity levels depend on the type and amount of chocolate your dog consumes, you have to decide whether to seek immediate veterinary attention or not.
You can follow the step-by-step procedure to determine the need for veterinary attention for your dog.
- Step 1: Determine what kind of chocolate your dog was eaten and how much.
- Step 2: Monitor your dog closely for any signs of chocolate poisoning. You can see notice the common chocolate poisoning symptoms in your dog. But, those symptoms may vary depending on the type of chocolate your dog consumes.
So, let’s get an idea about how your dog reacts based on the chocolate consumed.
If Dog Eats Chocolate What Happens?
As milk chocolate has lower levels of theobromine, it isn’t possible that your dog will show signs. So, closely monitor your dog’s behavior for the next 72 hours.
But, dark and semi-sweet chocolate needs immediate veterinary attention when consumed by dogs. Similarly, when your small dog has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to rush to the veterinarian right away.
In more severe instances, your veterinarian may advise you to induce vomiting in dogs immediately after it consumed chocolate.
30 – 60 minutes
Monitor your dog for the common symptoms of chocolate poisoning. During this time, try to keep your dog stay calm and make sure that plenty of freshwaters is available for them to drink.
1 – 2 hours
Some dogs need treatment after 1 to 2 hours it consumed chocolate. For example, dogs that had eaten either 3.5g of dark chocolate or 14g of milk chocolate for every kilogram they weigh require immediate veterinary attention.
The prescribed treatment might include feeding the dog with activated charcoal to induce vomiting and in certain cases, IV fluids might also be administered to remove the side effects of chocolate poisoning.
But, dogs that suffer from seizures may need to be monitored at the vet’s clinic overnight.
So, it is essential to call the vet if you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate, no matter the kind of chocolate or the dog’s size.
How Do You Treat Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs At Home?
The easiest way to induce vomiting in canines is to make them ingest hydrogen peroxide. It should be a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide and remember using too concentrated formula may harm your dog.
So, you should use 1 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide for every pound of your dog’s body weight. The maximum dose for larger dogs is 45 ml.
You can also use an oral syringe for easy dosing and you can get it at your local pharmacy. Typically, 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide per 20 pounds of a dog’s body weight is enough to induce vomiting.
If you catch your dog in the act, remove any available chocolate and try to retrieve any remaining chocolate from your dog’s mouth.
Call Your vet immediately
In any case, please call your vet as soon as possible or ring the pet poison center at 855-764-7661 for further instructions.
For dog owners residing in America, please call the Pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661, a 24/7 helpline for animal poison. Fees subject to change- US$ 59 per case applies.
The vet may recommend you monitor your dog for the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning based on your dog’s size and the amount and type of chocolate consumed. He may also advise you to bring the pet to his clinic if the condition worsens.
But, you should be ready to explain the situation to the vet in as much detail as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Die If They Eat Chocolate?
Yes, but not all dogs. Also, not all chocolates are fatal to your dog.
Generally, chocolate is poisonous to canines irrespective of your dog’s size. But, it won’t be fatal for all dog breeds. Generally, older dogs and dogs suffering from other health issues are likely to meet fatal consequences due to chocolate consumption.
Likewise, eating a crumb of chocolate cake or a small piece of chocolate bar probably won’t kill your dog, especially if it is a large breed.
But, chocolate should never be fed as a treat to your dog to avoid its toxic effects in it.
Can A Dog Eat White Chocolate?
Yes, your dog can eat white chocolate as it contains only 0.25 mg of theobromine.
But, it doesn’t mean that your dog is free from the toxic effects of theobromine. The amount of sugar in white chocolate can be harmful to your dog but, it won’t be fatal to it.
White chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea in canines, but won’t cause heart problems associated with theobromine.
How Much Dark Chocolate Is Bad For Dogs?
Dark chocolate is harmful to your dog, even consumed in small amounts. It contains the highest levels of theobromine (810 mg).
So, less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog. Dark chocolate can also cause severe toxic effects such as irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures, and possibly death in canines.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate Ice Cream?
No. One cup of chocolate-rich ice cream contains 178 mg of theobromine. Also, a high amount of sugar and fat are also unhealthy for dogs and can cause pancreatitis in them.
So, it is not advisable to feed chocolate ice cream to dogs. Unfortunately, if your dog has eaten chocolate ice cream, look for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and increased body temperature and call your vet immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate Cake?
No. It is not healthy for your dog due to the ingredients of sugar and wheat flour present in it.
Chocolate can also be toxic to dogs as it contains theobromine, it’s not advisable that your dog eat chocolate cake.
If your dog has unfortunately eaten chocolate cake, call the vet immediately.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Chocolate chip cookies are not good for your dog. One to two bites of a chocolate chip cookie can also develop chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Also, the major ingredients including wheat flour and sugar are also not healthy for dogs. A chocolate chip cookie can also cause problems for a little dog, and a bag of chocolate chips can create trouble in large dogs.
So, monitor your dog closely if it has eaten chocolate chip cookies and call your vet immediately when you notice signs of chocolate poisoning.
Train Yourself To Keep Chocolate From Your Dog
Just 1 oz of chocolate can cause serious problems in your dog. So, it is vital to prevent your dog from chocolate consumption as much as possible.
To prevent chocolate poisoning in dogs, you should also train yourself to keep the chocolate away from your dog.
You can train yourself in the following ways.
- Make sure your dog avoids eating foods strewn on the ground. In order to do this, teach him to follow the “Leave it” command.
- Store the chocolates in a safe container far away from the reach of your pet dog. Also, inform your family members not to bring chocolates or any choco-related eatables near the pet at any cost.
- Train your dog to eat from their crates only. In addition, provide him with his favorite treat, his comfortable blanket, a stuffed Kong, and other chewable and non-toxic toys.
Alternatives to Chocolate
As chocolate can be toxic to your dog, it is also wise to choose an alternative to it. A few alternatives to chocolates are available for canines.
In addition, you can provide safe and specially formulated dog treats to your dog. These treats are not only tasty for your dog but also provide added nutrients and dental care.
Generally, your dog won’t be at the risk of getting the illness from these treats.
It is a great substitute for chocolate and is absolutely safe for dogs to eat. Carob is free of the toxic component “theobromine” and other toxic substances such as caffeine, formamide, etc.
Fiber and protein-rich substitute, it is built up of nutrients such as Vitamins A, B, and D. Your dog may like its mildly sweet flavor. You can also use it in making dog treats.
So, don’t tempt to treat your dog with chocolate at Easter or Christmas. Make the occasion awesome with dog-friendly alternatives to chocolates!