2 December, 2021

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How Much Chocolate Can Kill A Dog

How Much Chocolate Can Kill A Dog

Chocolate once had a bad reputation as the leading cause of dental problems, acne, and obesity. Now, recent research shows that chocolate, especially dark or pure cocoa also has a lot of great health benefits like boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, improving memory, and being a powerful source of antioxidants. Chocolate has amazing benefits for us humans, so what makes it harmful for our dogs? We always hear that chocolate is bad or worse, fatal for dogs. Yet we also have friends who’ve let their dog nibble on a chocolate cupcake and seemed perfectly fine. So what is it with dogs and chocolate and why can they never mix according to experts?

Can Chocolate Kill A Dog?

Yes, chocolate can likely kill your dog, that is a fact. But fatality has certain factors like what type and how much chocolate has been ingested, how heavy your dog weighs, and if they have known allergies to certain compounds found in chocolate. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common side effects of chocolate for dogs, and depending on how their body reacts, could be a mild or severe case.

Dog Chocolate Poisoning

According to forbes.com, a study shows that dog chocolate poisoning increases during festive seasons like Easter, Christmas, and New Year. These are the moments when there’s a ton of food on the table and people are so busy that they don’t notice their dogs sneaking in and munching on some chocolate desserts. Even if your dog hasn’t tried it, the chocolaty scent could be attractive enough to your dog’s nose to pique their curiosity. Vets warn to be very vigilant during these times.

How Much Chocolate Can a Dog Eat without Dying?

It is never advisable to give your dog any type of chocolate. But if your dog has accidentally eaten some, you should know that the level of toxicity is higher in pure and powdered dark chocolate than milk or white chocolate bars. You also can use the VetsNow Chocolate Toxicity Calculator to have an idea of how chocolate will affect your dog before the symptoms start showing.

How Much Chocolate Can Be Poisonous To Your Dog?

Two factors that influence dog chocolate poisoning are:

  • Type of chocolate – as mentioned above, the cocoa content dictates the level of toxicity of chocolate. Baking bars, cocoa powders, and dark chocolate bars are more hazardous than their milk chocolate and white chocolate counterparts.
  • Size of dog – a dangerous amount of chocolate that’s toxic for a Pomeranian might have no effects at all on a Rottweiler.

List of Dog Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms

Much like people, no two dogs are the same. Each dog will react differently to chocolate. Depending on the two factors cited, some dogs might show only mild symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting. But some dogs might show severe symptoms like the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Hyperactivity
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

These symptoms will show as early as a few minutes to an hour and as late as 6 hours after the chocolate has been ingested.

What to Do if Your Dogs Eats Chocolate

Call your vet first. Depending on the situation, they are the best people to decide what will be your course of action. You can also call a local 24 hour Pet Hotline to give you advice if you can’t reach your vet. In rare situations where you can’t reach any of them for some reason, try to induce vomiting by using hydrogen peroxide or ipecac syrup. Use 1 teaspoon of ipecac syrup once or 1-2 tsp of 3% hydrogen peroxide every 15 minutes until your dog vomits. The main goal here is to get the chocolate out of your dog’s system as soon as possible before it is absorbed by their body and causes any harm. Remember that you can only do these home remedies in the first few minutes to less than an hour after your dog has eaten the chocolate and if your dog has not shown any symptoms yet. If he is already showing symptoms, seek the help of experts.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe From Eating Chocolate

Being adequately informed of the risks of chocolate for your dog is a start. Educate everyone in the family about what you have learned. Explain it well, especially to your kids because they are the ones who are inclined to giving your pet whatever food they can get their hands on. Be a responsible pet owner and share your knowledge with your friends and fellow pet owners. If everyone in the house and the community understand the risk, there will be fewer cases of accidental poisoning of dogs.

Why Chocolate Is Toxic to Dogs

There is a compound in chocolate called theobromine that is extremely toxic to canines. Theobromine is much like caffeine and gives us humans astounding benefits. It is an antioxidant and keeps the brain alert. Our liver can process it well and quickly. It’s a different story however when it comes to dogs’ small livers and hearts. Theobromine also stimulates our dog’s central nervous system but more excessively so and stays in their system longer because their small liver cannot quickly process it, thus posing a threat to their health. So while you feel a bit of an increase in your heart rate after eating chocolate, your dog’s tiny heart might beat rapidly and uncontrollably until it collapses.

Keeping Your Dog Safe From Chocolate

Being the pet owner, it is your responsibility to always keep your dog safe from chocolate and other food that can poison them. All types of chocolate products, whether bars, powder, drink, or biscuits should be sealed and kept away. Train your dog to drop anything in his mouth when you say so, so it is easier to command them if you see them carrying a poisonous product. Also stock up on the home remedies like hydrogen peroxide, ipecac syrup, and activated charcoal, as they will come in handy in emergencies. We never want anything bad to happen to our dogs but it’s wise to be prepared.

Final Thought

No matter how incredible chocolate is for humans, it’s still harmful to dogs. An outrageous amount of chocolate can also be toxic to humans, but any amount of chocolate can be risky for dogs. Sadly, there is no antidote for dog chocolate poisoning, so time is crucial when your dog has consumed it. As the saying goes – “prevention is always better than a cure”, so let us try our very best to create a chocolate-free environment for our dogs.