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Can Chocolate Kill Dogs?
A Chocolate-Eating Dog, Eh?
Can chocolate kill dogs? You may have heard this before or thought to yourself that there is no way that a sugary sweet chocolate bar could be toxic towards your furry pal.
And while it’s true that most dogs can eat chocolate and remain fine, it’s also very accurate that some dogs will not be able to handle the presence of this tasty treat.
While eating just a few pieces won’t cause any issues, dark or baker’s chocolate causes serious problems.
According to VetInfo, theobromine is a toxic chemical in chocolate that is toxic to dogs. It’s one of the most asked questions about chocolate bars – can chocolate kill dogs? If yes, how much chocolate should I give my dog? What type will be safe? What if my dog gets into serious trouble? Let’s find out the answers to all these questions in this article.
How Quickly Will Chocolate Affect a Dog?
Chocolate can be toxic to dogs, but how quickly does it affect them? When you’re sitting down to enjoy a delicious chocolate cake, your dog may be eyeing you and that delicious piece of cake. You know chocolate is harmful to dogs, but how quickly will it affect them?
And what should you do if your dog does eat chocolate? Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are part of the methylxanthine family.
These chemicals can cause diarrhea, excessive thirst, panting, vomiting, urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death. The problem isn’t just in commercially produced chocolate; cocoa powder used in baking also contains theobromine, as do some human medications.
Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate and the higher the concentration of cocoa powder in the product, the more severe symptoms will be.
How quickly a dog will be affected by chocolate depends on several factors: how much the dog consumed chocolate; how much theobromine is in the chocolate (which varies by type); the size of the dog; the age of the dog; whether or not the dog consumed other foods at the same time; overall health of dog; etc. If you suspect your dog has eaten any amount of chocolate.
How Much is Too Much Chocolate for Dogs?
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. A general rule of thumb is 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potentially toxic dose for dogs. White and dark chocolates are more dangerous, with 2 ounces per pound being a potentially harmful amount. Theobromine is detrimental to dogs because their bodies can’t break it down very well. Even small amounts of this substance can build up over time and cause significant harm.
What Are the Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in a Dog?
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning in a dog don’t appear immediately. They instead develop over time as theobromine builds up in a dog’s system and affects their central nervous system and heart muscle.
Dark chocolate is the worst for dogs; milk chocolate is less toxic but still a danger to your dog. White chocolate is not much of a problem because it has little to no theobromine.
The amount of theobromine in white chocolate is usually too little to cause problems in dogs, except in large quantities.
The amount of cocoa solids or theobromine contained in different types of chocolate varies greatly. Let’s look at some examples:
- Unsweetened baking chocolate contains 390 mg of theobromine per ounce.
- Semisweet baking chocolate contains 150 mg of theobromine per ounce.
- Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar contains 45 mg of theobromine per ounce.
- Milk Chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per ounce.
Is Milk Chocolate Dangerous for a Dog?
The short answer is yes. Why? It’s all about theobromine.
Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, and it’s a central nervous system stimulant. It occurs naturally in chocolate, tea, kola nuts, and other plants — but not in milk. So why is it dangerous for your dog?
Theobromine poisoning in dogs can cause severe symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, irregular heart rate, seizures, cardiac arrhythmia, internal bleeding, or a heart attack. The effects of theobromine poisoning are evident within six to 12 hours of ingestion. They may last up to three days in dogs.
While people metabolize theobromine slowly, it takes dogs much longer to break it down. The amount of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate:
- Milk chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per ounce
- Semisweet chocolate contains 150 mg per ounce
- Baking chocolate contains 390 mg per ounce
- Dark chocolate contains 450 mg per ounce.
Is Dark Chocolate Dangerous for a Dog?
Dogs are the best. They’re always happy to see you, never judge you, and make your house feel like a home. I’m always sure to keep my dogs safe and healthy, which means keeping them away from things that could hurt them.
You may have heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs. But what about dark chocolate? Is dark chocolate dangerous for a dog?
We talked to veterinarians and nutritionists to find out what was going on. And the verdict is in: while milk chocolate can be dangerous, dark chocolate is mainly safe for dogs—even good for them. (Everything depends on quantity even everyday food is dangerous if you don’t care about the amount)
What Makes Chocolate Dangerous?
Chocolate contains theobromine, which can be toxic in high doses. Theobromine causes an increase in heart rate and elevated blood pressure. Dogs don’t metabolize theobromine as humans do, which means it can build up to very high levels in their system.
But how much is too much? It depends on your dog’s size and weight, but most vets agree that about 9 ounces of milk chocolate per pound of bodyweight could be toxic for your dog.
As far as dark chocolate goes, it contains less sugar and fat than milk chocolate, so it has less theobromine—only about one-third as much. So it would take around three times as much ounce per pound of body weight before it becomes toxic to your small dog.
Dark chocolate can be harmful to them if ingested, even in small amounts. But don’t worry—there are tons of things you can give your dog as treats instead of chocolate! Great substitutes include blueberries, apples, bananas, carrots, or plain pumpkin puree.
Make sure whatever you give them isn’t too big to chew up easily.
If your dog does manage to get into some dark chocolate and your dog ate chocolate or candy bar (which is rare because they’re so bright), there are some symptoms that you should look out for. These include vomiting and diarrhea, increased or decreased heart rate or heart arrhythmia, and muscle tremors or seizures. Take them to the vet immediately.
Can Chocolate Affect a Dog’s Digestive System?
Yes, chocolate can affect a dog’s digestive system. If you’re a chocoholic, you’ve probably heard the expression “Everything in moderation.” But if you share your home with Fido, it’s important to note that chocolate isn’t part of your average-sized dog diet.
It’s a common misconception that chocolate is harmless to dogs. Still, in reality, the sweet treat can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system. Because dogs have a vastly different metabolic process than humans, they cannot break down many of the ingredients found in chocolate. The results can be dire, including everything from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and even death.
Dog owners should never feed their pets any chocolate—even in small amounts. Instead, they should keep all chocolates out of the dog’s reach (dogs are crafty little troublemakers).
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs. Ingesting chocolate items can cause your dog to experience vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death. Additionally, the high sugar levels in chocolate can lead to problems with weight gain and dental health.
It is always best as a dog owner to keep your dog away from chocolate of all kinds. However, suppose you do suspect that your dog has consumed chocolate. In that case, you should contact your vet as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.
How Much Chocolate Does It Take To Kill a Dog?
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs.
If you love dogs, chocolate is not something you want to leave lying around where your furry friend can get ahold of it. But how much chocolate does it makes it take to kill a dog? The answer will surprise you. And by surprise, I mean neither surprise nor shock.
It takes a lot. I mean large quantity! Chocolate is toxic to dogs because of two chemicals it contains caffeine and theobromine. While the human body can metabolize these chemicals quickly, dogs cannot. This means the chemicals stay in their bloodstream longer and poison them.
The effect of each chemical depends on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate involved. Generally speaking, though, you’ll need about one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight for your dog to reach dangerous toxicity levels. For example, a 20-pound dog would need 20 ounces of milk chocolate—a little more than five 3 Musketeers bars.
But don’t worry! The chances that you have access to that many 3 Musketeers bars are meager!
How much chocolate can kill or be poisonous to dogs? Let’s understand this with an example.
It depends on how much chocolate is consumed by the dog. For example, let’s say your dog is eleven pounds. The average chocolate bar weighs 2.5 ounces and contains about 35 mg of caffeine per ounce of chocolate. That means a 2.5-ounce chocolate bar contains about 87.5 mg of caffeine, 0.0087 ounces, or 0.249 grams.
If your dog eats a 2.5-ounce chocolate bar, he would have ingested about 0.249 grams of caffeine, or about 0.0000004% of his body in caffeine, depending on the dog’s weight.
Suppose we assume that your dog is eating the same amount as a human. In that case, we can estimate that he would have to eat 100 ounces (about 12 pounds) of chocolate to get a lethal dose of caffeine (or 1,250 pounds if you’re thinking in terms of mass).
The toxicity range for dogs is wide. From 0.1 to 0.25% of the dog’s body weight can be lethal. So it’s not clear exactly how much chocolate it would take to kill your dog, but the number is probably somewhere between 50 and 100 ounces (or 1,250 and 2,500 pounds).
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate?
Suppose you think your dog has eaten dark chocolate or has chocolate toxicity. In that case, it’s essential to take the dog to the vet as soon as possible. If the situation is difficult enough, they may have to hospitalize the dog overnight until its blood sugar levels return to normal.
Final Words – Can Chocolate Kill Dogs?
If you’re thinking about making a sweet chocolate treat for your dog, you should know that some of the information circulating is wrong, missing important nuances and completely ignoring other factors.
Always keep chocolate out of your dog’s reach because chocolate is poisonous, no matter how sweet and delectable it may be. For example, dogs that have eaten chocolate can exhibit symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and irregular heartbeats, among other things. If you see your dog eating chocolate or has mild symptoms, take it to a veterinarian!