Is Chocolate Toxic for Dogs
Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs
It is no secret that chocolate is bad for dogs, but what many new puppy owners fail to realise is that it can also be completely lethal. Whether in sweetened form, raw, processed, milk, dark, bar, or powder – chocolate is a big no-no when it comes to your dog. The darker the chocolate, the more serious the results; that is why bakers chocolate is the biggest red zone for them.
- Chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs and could be a pet emergency if accidentally consumed
- Chocolate toxicity signs could appear within 30 minutes or even after 6
- The treatment and prognosis all depend on the type and amount of chocolate consumed
Why is chocolate toxic to dogs?
Chocolate is harmful to a dog’s health because of the presence of methylxanthine theobromine and caffeine. Although theobromine is present in a much more significant amount, both play a role in developing toxicity.
The cocoa plant is the original source of chocolate; hence it is both rich in theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine, a bitter-tasting alkaloid, is not only found in abundance in the cocoa plant but also in the leaves of tea plants and cola nut to a lesser extent.
Humans can easily enjoy chocolate and avoid this toxicity altogether, as these substances are easily digested, tolerated, and excreted. Whereas in dogs, they get absorbed into the bloodstream and are distributed in all parts of the body, causing excessive cellular damage.
We can enjoy a little treat here and there; in fact, it can even be used as a heart and brain stimulant that gives us a ‘happy rush time’, but for our dogs, it only gives them problems.
Dark chocolate is even more dangerous to Dogs
Always remember that the darker chocolate, the worse the result. Try to find out as soon as possible the color and type of chocolate your dog recently ingested because the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of theobromine will be present.
After baker’s chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, chocolate-covered espresso beans, baked goods, and milk chocolate, are all a danger to your dog’s health. The amount of toxicity the chocolate can cause again depends upon the amount of theobromine ingested.
What amount of chocolate is lethal for a dog?
Theobromine is highly detrimental to the dog’s health as it affects the heart, kidneys, CNS, and can eventually cause death.
Although loading doses of theobromine are as high as 100-200mg/Kg, it is shown to cause potential damage at much lower doses. 20mg/Kg causes mild gastric symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
The heart starts to shows signs of damage at doses of 40-50mg/Kg. All doses higher than 60mg/Kg are fatal and result in seizures and, ultimately, death. You can use a clinical chocolate calculator to calculate the level of toxicity as well.
What are the symptoms of chocolate toxicity in dogs?
Your dog is most likely to vomit on his own at first. Again, the nature and severity of the symptoms depend upon the amount and type of chocolate ingested. You will start seeing the following symptoms within 6 to 12 hours:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Rapid and fast breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent urination
- Increased heart rate
- Low or high blood pressure
- Muscle tension
- Seizures and tremors
If you see your dog experiencing any of these above symptoms, immediately seek medical help and call the nearest vet as soon as possible. You need to observe the signs carefully and be quick if you want to save the little pup’s life.
Can dogs eat white chocolate?
Now you must be wondering if white chocolate safe and edible, since its neither dark nor bitter. Well, a lot of dog owners do ask this question quite often, and we just want to know if there is the slightest chance of sharing.
Yes, white chocolate is relatively safer, as its theobromine levels are low. Yet again, they aren’t completely absent and can cause problems for your puppy. He or she might not ingest the quantity you offer, so it is still not safe to offer it.
Just keep your dog away from chocolate, save the chocolate treat for yourself.
It is high in fat, and also not so easy on the stomach. It might even lead to acute pancreatitis as well.
What should you do if your dog eats chocolate?
The first thing you need is to determine the amount and type of chocolate your dog consumed. When the amount would be known, the result would be easier to contemplate.
Immediately call your vet, as it is best to seek a medical opinion, and follow whatever the vet asks you to do.
If you figured out that your dog has ingested a few pieces of dark chocolate but is not showing symptoms right away, it is ideal to call the vet and ask for advice right away.
Be extra cautious and monitor your dog fully during this period.
If you notice anything different, it is best to take him to the vet. The vet might offer fluid therapy and try to induce vomiting if the theobromine hasn’t still been readily absorbed.
Treatment options for chocolate toxicity in dogs
Treatment and prognosis again depend upon the detailed history and toxicity level of your dog. Following approaches are readily used, including:
- Self-induced vomiting
- Intravenous fluid therapy
- Activated charcoal
- Diazepam for tremors and CNS symptoms
- Beta-blockers like Propranolol for heart anomalies
How to prevent your dog from eating chocolate in the first place
You can use the following techniques as a preventive approach:
- Restrict access to your food – While you are not around to supervise him, the best way is to keep your puppy away from food areas of the house, so he does not roam around unnecessarily and look for unusual treats.
- Practice and preach the let go – Teach your dog to leave it and train him for it.
- Keep out of reach – If you enjoy chocolate (and who doesn’t?) keep chocolate treats in places that are completely out of reach to your dog.
Just remember that chocolate is your dog’s enemy. No matter how much those puppy eyes beg for it, don’t give in.