Most dog owners already know the answer to the question “can dogs eat chocolate”, but I’ve decided to include this anyway.
Is chocolate safe for dogs to eat?
Let’s find out.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?
No, dogs cannot eat chocolate. Never give your dog anything that contains chocolate.
Everything you’ve heard about chocolate being extremely toxic and potentially fatal for a dog if ingested is all 100% true.
Chocolate, which also includes cocoa products, can have different effects based on size, breed, and any health problems your dog may already have. If your dog eats enough chocolate, he can die.
Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a methylxanthine stimulant and is easy to metabolize for humans. Dogs, however, process theobromine a lot slower than we can. This results in it building up quickly to a toxic level in a dog’s system.
In small amounts, chocolate will give your dog diarrhea, cause them to vomit, and result in an upset stomach.
In large amounts, however, theobromine causes an irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, internal bleeding, heart attacks, and seizures.
If you’re unsure whether or not your dog has ingested chocolate, the best way to tell is to look for any unusual hyperactivity.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
Here is a more detailed list of symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Increased thirst
- Increased heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Elevated body temperature
- Increased urination
If you suspect or know 100% that your dog has ingested chocolate, you need to act fast.
Different Types of Chocolate and Their Toxicity to Dogs
Cooking chocolate, dark chocolate, and dry cocoa powder contain the highest levels of theobromine, while white chocolate and milk chocolate have the lowest levels. Knowing which type of chocolate your dog ate and how much will help both you and your vet determine what to do.
Dark chocolate, for example, can kill a dog in small amounts. Less than an ounce of it has the potential to poison a dog weighing 44 pounds.
You can expect some of the more mild symptoms, such as hyperactivity, to occur if a dog has managed to ingest 20 mg of methylxanthines for every kilogram of their body weight.
You will start to see cardiac symptoms that happen due to chocolate toxicity if a dog has managed to ingest between 40 to 50 mg per kilogram.
If your dog has ingested up to 60 mg or more per kilogram, seizures will begin to occur.
What to Do if Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate
If your dog has eaten chocolate and you’re 100% sure it’s happened, the first thing you need to do is remain calm and do your best not to freak out. Your dog needs you to not have a meltdown right now.
If you have a small breed who has ingested chocolate, drop everything and get to your vet. If that isn’t an option, find a local 24-hour emergency animal clinic or hospital in your area and get there as soon as you can.
If you have a medium to large-sized breed, try your best to induce vomiting within a minimum of 2 hours after he’s eaten it. Any amount of time after that and you need to go to the vet.
If you have, or can find, some activated charcoal, give your dog multiple doses. You need to get the toxins out of your dog’s bloodstream, which activated charcoal will help you to do.
If you can’t get in touch with your vet or you’re unable to find a 24-hour emergency clinic for dogs, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-213-6680 for advice.
How to Prevent Your Dog Eating Chocolate
The best way to ensure that your dog never eats chocolate is to never give him a chance to do so.
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep anything away and out of reach of your pet that could harm him.
You wouldn’t leave a fully loaded gun next to a young child, so don’t leave chocolate where your dog can reach and eat it.