Chocolate is a food much appreciated by humans. Because of its sweet taste, it is also appreciated by dogs. However, can you give chocolate to your dog? The answer is no, chocolate is not recommended for our four-legged friends.
In this article, we will explain the dangers for dogs when eating chocolate, the toxic quantities and the symptoms of chocolate poisoning.
What are the dangers associated to chocolate?
The toxicity of chocolate is due to theobromine, an alkaloid which compose it. It is a substance contained in cocoa and is toxic to dogs. In other words, it is not the chocolate that is toxic, but more precisely the cocoa. That is why dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate because it contains more theobromine. White chocolate contains little cocoa and is therefore not very toxic for the dog.
Which quantity not to exceed?
Whether a dog is poisoned by chocolate depends on several parameters.
Indeed, a large dog can ingest larger amounts than a small dog. In addition, the type of chocolate also plays a role. Dark chocolate is more toxic to dogs than milk and white chocolate.
Chocolate intoxication can appear as soon as more than 2g of dark chocolate with 50% cocoa or 10g of milk chocolate are ingested for each kg of the dog’s weight. For example, a dog weighing 10kg, from 20g of dark chocolate or 100g of milk chocolate, we speak of a toxic dose.
The lethal dose of chocolate for dogs is 200g of dark chocolate and 500g of milk chocolate. In concrete terms, half a bar of chocolate can kill a 5 kg dog.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning
Beyond the recommended amounts, chocolate intoxication in dogs can occur in a number of ways. Digestive, cardiac, nervous or urinary symptoms may be observed. Among the main symptoms when the dog eats chocolate are the following:
- Diarrhea, vomiting and bloating;
- Nervousness, anxiety, movement coordination disorders and agitation, convulsions and coma;
- Rapid breathing and breathing difficulties;
- Polydipsia and polyuria (the dog drinks and urinates more than usual).
These symptoms may appear within the first hour after the dog has ingested the chocolate. If a large amount is ingested, the dog may die after 6 to 24 hours.
What should I do if my dog has eaten chocolate?
In the event your dog has eaten chocolate, and regardless of the amount ingested, the first thing to do is to contact as soon as possible a clinic or veterinary practice. It’s important to know that time is critical. In other words, the quicker the treatment, the greater the chance that the dog will recover.
It is strongly discouraged to take any action to get your pet to vomit. The veterinarian will establish a symptomatic treatment to limit the absorption of the toxic agent. In the majority of cases, the dog will be put under observation by the veterinarian until the theobromine has been completely eliminated.
It’s also important to tell the vet when the chocolate was eaten, how much, what kind of chocolate and, your dog’s weight.