How much chocolate can a dog eat? Let’s frame it this way: how toxic is chocolate for a dog to consume? Certainly! Every dog owner should understand how dangerous chocolate is for dogs. Dogs’ health is worsened by stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine found in chocolate.
Today, we will look at the dangerous side of chocolate and other relevant information that every owner must know. Let’s dive in!
Why does chocolate poison dogs?
Chocolate is toxic to dogs for a variety of reasons. The fat content in chocolate is high. So chocolates can trigger pancreatitis in dogs. Although there is no exact amount of fat that causes pancreatitis, any dog that consumes a substantial amount of fat in a short period is at risk.
Additionally, Chocolates have theobromine and caffeine known as methylxanthines, which are risk stimulants for a dog. Theobromine is known to open blood vessels and drop blood pressure. While chocolate can help in reducing stress for humans, it works differently for animals.
On the other hand, caffeine causes dizziness to the dog and other symptoms.
What is the toxic level of chocolate in dogs?
Two factors determine chocolate’s toxicity in dogs:
- The number of methylxanthines consumed and the dog’s size.
- The higher the proportion of methylxanthines in chocolate, the worse it is.
A large breed dog’s risk factor by consuming chocolate is lesser compared to a tiny dog that has extensive risk. Either way, chocolates are toxic and must be avoided for all dog breeds.
Methylxanthines’ mild to moderate toxic effects in dogs can develop based on consumption. When a dog consumes more than 40mg/kg of methylxanthines, severe side effects develop. To experience mild to moderate toxicity, a ten-pound dog must eat about 80 oz of white chocolate.
But just 0.2 to 0.3 ounces of baking chocolate is enough to mess up a dog’s health. Here is a table to explain the number of methylxanthines per ounce of chocolate.
|White chocolate||1.1 mg|
|Dark chocolate||150 mg|
|Milk chocolate||64 mg|
|Semi-sweet chocolate||160 mg|
|Baking chocolate||440 mg|
|Cocoa beans||600 mg|
|Cocoa powder||807 mg (highest concentration)|
|Cocoa bean hulls||225 mg|
What are the symptoms found in a dog that eats chocolate?
Every dog has a different reaction to chocolate. Some can look alright after eating chocolate, while some can even have a seizure. Here are some of the possible symptoms dogs can encounter after eating chocolate.
- Increased thirst
- Bloating and obesity
- Frequent urination
- Muscles and limbs tighten
- Short breath
- Heart rate becomes abnormal
- Blood pressure fluctuates
- Weak and dizzy feeling
What should you do after your dog eats chocolate?
If you think your dog ate chocolate, firstly try to figure out what kind of chocolate and how much they ate. At the same time, you should contact your veterinarian who can help you fix things quickly.
If you figure it out after hours, try calling the ASPCA poison control hotline or contacting a 24-hour emergency veterinarian in your region.
Additionally, you can use any online chocolate toxicity calculator to assess the poison level in your dog. With your dog’s weight and the amount of chocolate they ate, you can determine the toxicity. If it isn’t severe, your anxiety will calm down, and try it. But at the same time, take quick action.
If you’re not sure how much your dog has eaten enough, rush to the Vet to wipe out the toxins. Do not try to use any medications without a Vet’s subscription.
If your veterinarian believes your dog has had enough chocolate to be poisoned, they will make the dog vomit somehow to remove the toxins. The vomiting method won’t work if it has been more than an hour since your dog ate the chocolate. Moreover, they should not be allowed to vomit because it can worsen their situation.
If your Vet isn’t available to come to your home or at the office, a quick call will benefit you. They would guide you to use certain items like fresh hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. I
f the Vet is available, they will provide other medications that can induce vomiting much faster and more successfully than hydrogen peroxide. Additional therapy, such as intravenous fluids, activated charcoal, and drugs to alleviate symptoms such as vomiting, tremors, etc., will be used if the dog has eaten a hazardous amount of chocolate.
Author’s tip: Try not to panic and stay composed when you figure out that your dog has eaten chocolate. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take the correct steps.
How quickly will the symptoms come in?
Chocolate’s toxicity will react depending on the amount of chocolate consumed. Usually, it will react within 4-6 hours. For some dogs, it can start within an hour.
How many deaths usually occur due to chocolates?
It’s reported that 1 out of 4 dogs have died due to chocolate’s toxins. Dogs are prone to illnesses during certain seasons, and chocolate can worsen it.
To Wrap Up
The darker the chocolate, the more severe the sickness. So always try to keep the chocolates away from your dog. Never buy them food with even a pint of chocolate mixed with it.
As mentioned earlier, you should visit the Vet immediately when you find your dog has eaten chocolate. Do not try to solve the issue by yourself. We hope you have found this article informative. Have a nice day!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.