With Halloween right around the corner, kids will soon have their bags filled with candy and chocolate! As pet owners, we need to be cautious of the dangers associated with these tasty treats, especially chocolate. We’ve all heard that chocolate is seriously bad for your dog, but do we really know the reason why... Why is chocolate bad for dogs? Can chocolate kill dogs? Which types are more harmful than others? What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs and more importantly… what steps should be taken if ingested? Keep reading to find out!
What makes chocolate poisonous?
If you're still wondering, "can dogs eat chocolate?"...the answer is no! Chocolate contains methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine), which are harmful to dogs, especially in large quantities. The sweet treat is made from cocoa beans, which contain the chemical compound theobromine. Theobromine is the real threat to our pets. Dogs metabolize the compound much more slowly than humans, allowing it to build up toxicity levels in their system.
Additionally, different chocolate types have different theobromine levels. Cocoa, cooking chocolate, and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk and white chocolate have the lowest. The higher the level of theobromine in a cocoa product, the less it takes to poison a dog. Therefore, if you have any quantity of dark or bitter chocolate, please be cautious when it is used around pets. Dogs also have an excellent sense of smell, making it fairly easy to find any secret hiding spots for tasty treats.
Symptoms generally appear within four to twenty-four hours of your dog ingesting chocolate. Remember that a large quantity of chocolate (or a smaller amount of potent baking chocolate/dark chocolate) can kill a dog, so best to err on the side of caution if you notice any symptoms and get your dog to the vet right away. Early symptoms
: vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, increased urination and restlessness Later symptoms
: lack of coordination, muscle twitching, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and ultimately death
What to do if your pet ingests chocolate:
If you suspect your dog ate chocolate and they are showing the above symptoms, the faster you get it to the vet, the better. There is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning, but the vet may advise inducing vomiting to prevent as much theobromine from entering the system as possible. Of all foods you should avoid giving your pet
, chocolate is one of the most well known for being harmful to your doggy. Keep them safe by being cautious of their diet! NOTE
: A single piece of chocolate does not contain a large enough theobromine dosage to harm your dog; however, if you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, it is best to get it to the vet ASAP. Estimating how much chocolate will kill a dog is difficult to do because dogs come in all shapes and sizes! A large dog
can consume more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects. Monitor your dog for signs and call your vet if you are unsure; when it's your dog's life, better safe than sorry! For further information, take a look at PetMD's page on chocolate