If you are wondering if this is a fact or a myth, this is a fact. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. However, the situation depends on the type and amount of chocolate consumed by your dog. Also, its weight is taken into consideration but when neglected this case could cause a serious medical emergency.
In case your dog has eaten chocolate or any type of food that has caffeine, it’s important to monitor him for signs of toxicity and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Why Chocolate Is Toxic to Dogs?
Chocolates are only for human consumption so despite those puppy eyes, never give this kind of treat to your friendly pet.
Chocolate is made out of a mixture that contains theobromine and caffeine. These particular components can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs which can lead to death. However, there are other risks chocolate poses to dogs.
When your dog ingested chocolate be sick but the impact depends on the type and amount of chocolate consumed and the weight of the dog.
To further explain, theobromine is a compound harmful to dogs and cats that is very similar to caffeine. Both chemicals are used in the medical field as a heart stimulant and a smooth muscle relaxant. Even though it is a great help for human pain, it is the reverse for our fur friends.
Dogs and cats cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine. This makes them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects.
As mentioned, the concentrations of these toxic substances differ among the long list of chocolate type Below is just a shortlist of the top source of these toxins and are recommended to be put away when your dogs are around:
Cocoa powder (most toxic)
Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
As a responsible owner, you should know and understand the importance of this list. Knowing these initial pieces of information can be beneficial just in case. It can also help your vet to determine if you have an emergency.
Based on medical experts and dog owners, mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity occur when a dog consumes 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of body weight.
Moreover, cardiac more alarming chocolate toxicity alarming can occur around 40 to 50 mg/kg, and seizures occur at a dosage greater than 60 mg/kg.
If you are a new dog owner, the information above means that the concerning dose of chocolate is approximately an ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight.
For better understanding, an average grocery-bought chocolate bar is 1.55 ounces, therefore, if your dog emptied one pack of a chocolate bar, it can cause some serious consequences, especially for small dogs.
On the other hand, eating a crumb of chocolate cake or a tiny piece of a chocolate bar, probably won’t kill your dog, especially if it is a larger breed. Nonetheless, chocolate should never be fed as a treat for dogs in general.
What are the Signs and Symptoms That My Dog is Intoxicated?
On average, signs of chocolate poisoning usually appear within 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten some chocolate. Signs of intoxication may last up to 72 hours. period period, your dog may experience the following:
Elevated or abnormal heart rate
Collapse and death
Note: Older dogs and dogs with existing heart conditions are more at risk of sudden death from chocolate poisoning.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Chocolate?
If you believe your dog ate chocolate, the best thing you can do is to call your veterinarian immediately for advice.
Again, you should observe how much your dog consumed so you can immediately report to your veterinarian. He would probably recommend that you monitor your dog for the listed signs. As the owner, you must observe your pet's condition in case it worsens.
However, if your veterinarian prefers you bringing the dog into the clinic. Do it with urgency.
Based on observation, if your vet learns that your pet consumed the chocolate less than two hours ago and noticed some vomiting then he probably will give him several doses of activated charcoal, which works to move the toxins out of the body without being absorbed into the bloodstream.
On a more serious note, if your dog has a more severe case, veterinary intervention may be needed to provide supplemental treatment, such as medications or IV fluids, to resolve the effects of the poisoning.
Dogs suffering from seizures may need to be monitored at the clinic overnight.
However, it is recommended to take precautions at home if you have fur friends to prevent worst-case scenarios.
How Do I Prevent My Dog from Eating Chocolate?
Even though small amounts of milk chocolate which contain fewer cocoa products may not cause a problem in larger dogs, it’s still not a good idea to let them have chocolates in general.
However, we understand you cannot look after your pets 24/7 so here are some ways to prevent dogs from possible chocolate intoxication:
Put Your Chocolate Stash Away
When you clean or arrange your stuff at home, make sure that all of your chocolate items, including cocoa powder or even your hot chocolate breakfast mix, are properly stored and secured in a place where your dog cannot reach them.
Also, you need to train and remind your children about this practice so they will keep their fur friends safe.
You can kindly ask your house guests that you have a pet dog, therefore, chocolate should be kept out of the dog’s reach and not left on countertops, tables, or in purses, whenever they are over.
Christmas is just around the corner and holiday chocolate treats will probably fill your house so be mindful.
Train Your Dog
One of the best things you can do to prevent intoxication is to train your dog to leave chocolates away.
The command “leave it” is extremely effective in preventing dogs from eating any kind of food or material that falls onto the ground. This is also the case whenever you go for a walk and it sees something on the ground.
This is a very easy command to teach so take your time to train them for better and long-term precautions.
Generally, there is a long list of food and treats that are harmful to dogs. As an owner, you must be aware of these.
However, what is harmful to them must not limit you. You can still treat yourself to chocolates and tasty goodies, you just have to be responsible.