Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?
If you are a dog lover, you know the joy that your pet receives when he gets to share some of your human food. Although dogs are usually perfectly satisfied eating their own food, they enjoy getting a treat every now and then, and the humans feel good about it too. However, there are some foods that should be avoided, as they are unhealthy and can often be toxic to dogs.
You’ve probably heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but you might be wondering if this is true. After all, we’ve all heard stories about a dog getting into a whole bag of chocolate and turning out okay. However, chocolate is, in fact, toxic to dogs and humans should make sure that their dog does not have easy access to any chocolate treats.
The Toxic Chemical
The main culprit in chocolate that hurts dogs is Theobromine. This is a chemical that is easily processed by humans. Dogs, however, cannot process theobromine, metabolizing it much more slowly which allows it to build up to toxic levels. The purer a bar of chocolate is, the more theobromine it will contain. So, white and milk chocolates do not have very high levels, while purer dark chocolate is very high in the chemical.
What happens if a dog eats chocolate?
Small amounts of milk chocolate or white chocolate usually do not result in very serious problems. Your dog may experience some vomiting or diarrhea. They might not even get that far and may only suffer from an upset stomach as they metabolize the theobromine. If a dog eats only a small piece of chocolate that falls on the floor, you usually don’t have much to worry about.
However, when a dog gets into a whole bag or an entire bar of darker chocolate, more serious problems could occur. If there is enough theobromine in the chocolate product, the dog could suffer from tremors, seizures, internal bleeding, or cardiac arrest. It is important to take immediate action if you suspect that your dog has ingested too much chocolate.
What to do if your dog eats chocolate
If your dog has ingested any significant amount of chocolate, the first thing to do is to try to induce vomiting. This should be done within 2 hours of the chocolate being eaten. If you are having trouble getting your dog to vomit, call a veterinarian immediately, as they have the expertise and antidotes required to save a dog from theobromine poisoning.
How much chocolate is too much?
While it will depend on the type of chocolate and how pure it is, there are some general rules of thumb to follow when it comes to a dog eating chocolate. In general, one ounce of pure chocolate per pound of body weight is considered a lethal amount of chocolate for a dog. White chocolate and milk chocolate aren’t as pure, but you should still stick by this rule to be safe. Essentially, you should avoid letting your dog have any chocolate at all and should keep any chocolate in your house out of reach of your furry friend.