- Pets and Animals
My Dog Ate Chocolate - Chocolate Poisoning
Dogs and Chocolate
For some reason man's best friend and woman's best friend- dog and chocolate- just don't get along too well... Excess chocolate can cause chocolate poisoning in your dog, but why?
Well, simple. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is very toxic to dogs. When dogs consume too much theobromine, it can cause any of the signs mentioned below relating to chocolate poisoning.
The theobromine is a natural stimulant found in cocoa beans that causes increased urination and irregularities with the central nervous system as well as the heart. Excess amounts of the stimulant can be troublesome, if not fatal for your dog.
Check out the toxicity levels of different types of chocolate and how much chocolate a dog can consume per pound weight without seeing a signs of poisoning. But, just because your dog can't have human chocolate, he can have carob, which is commonly marketed as dog chocolate. Check out a few options of dog carob treats below, as well.
Chocolate Toxicity for Dogs
Different types of chocolate is going to affect your dog different, and the different types of chocolate is going to affect different dog sizes differently.
Typically, it's going a lot of chocolate to cause reaction in your dog, so you're not going to have to rush your Great Dane to emergency vet for eating one or two of your M&M's.
On average chocolate is going to contain the following amount of theobromine per ounce, and the theobromine is what's actually toxic for your dog, not the chocolate itself.
- Milk chocolate- 44-60 mg/oz
- Semi-sweet chocolate- 150-225 mg/oz
- Baker's chocolate- 390-450 mg/oz
Now, looking at the milligrams per ounce of theobromine in milk chocolate, semi-sweet, and Baker's chocolate, you can see that Baker's chocolate is going to be the worst of the three, especially since it only takes about 100-150 mg/kg of theobromine to cause the chemical reaction.
Now, typically 100-200 milligram per kilogram of body weight is a large number, but depending on your dog's sensitivity and size and the concentration of the actual piece of chocolate is going to affect different dogs differently.
Using 100 mg/kg as the toxic dose, the actual amount of chocolate that can affect your dog comes to about:
- Milk chocolate- 1 ounce per 1 pound
- Semi-sweet chocolate- 1 ounce per 3 pounds
- Baker's chocolate- 1 ounce per 9 pounds
As for white chocolate, it will take about 200 ounces per pound before causing a reaction.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
Usually, you'll notice signs of chocolate poisoning within 12 hours, if not less after your dog consumed the chocolate.
The theobromine will affect the nervous and cardiovascular systems, as well as the peripheral nerves, and like in people, you may even see the diuretic effect in your dog.
Common signs and symptoms that you may notice include:
- Trembling and Shaking
- Muscle spasms
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination (sometimes)
- Coma (rare)
- Death (rare)- usually caused by abnormalities with the dog's heart, typically either the heart beat or the heart rate
Chocolate Poisoning Treatment
Unfortunately there is no treatment for chocolate poisoning, but if you think that your dog has consumed a good chunk of chocolate, when compared to his weight, you'll still want to contact your vet or an emergency vet, as there are a few support treatments that you can try to help alleviate the symptoms.
- IV fluids: to help prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea and/or vomiting; IV fluids can help to flush the theobromine from the chocolate out of your dog's body, as well.
- Emetics: to help induce vomiting within 4 hours after consuming the chocolate
- Activated charcoal: ingested to help alleviate poisoning for prolonged symptoms
- Anti-seizure medications: to alleviate seizures and tremors
- Cardiac medications: to alleviate irregular heart beat and heart rate
You can try coating your dog's stomach with milk and egg whites using 1/4 cup of egg white and 1/4 cup of milk per 10 pounds of body weight, if you're at home and you do not have access to charcoal.
Gourmet Dog Carob Treats
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.