Treat or Toxic? Dogs and Chocolate
- by Andrea Nunez
Should I Give Chocolate to My Dog as a Treat?
The short answer? No. The chemicals in chocolate are toxic to dogs, and can prove fatal. Even if the dosage of chocolate will not be toxic to your dog because of their weight, chocolate is very fatty and full of sugar which is unhealthy for your dog to consume. Read on to find out why chocolate is toxic to your pet, and what you should do if your dog consumes some chocolate.
Why is Chocolate Poisonous for Dogs?
There are two components in chocolate that are toxic to dogs: theobromine and caffeine. These two components belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines.
Dogs who have consumed a low to medium dose of methylxanthines may suffer from nausea and vomiting, a high heart rate, diarrhoea, and hyperactivity. Dogs who have consumed a high dose of methylxanthines may experience tremors, seizures and even death.
How Much Chocolate is Toxic to a Dog?
Some data suggests that mild effects start at a dose of 20 mg/ 7 oz, while more severe effects would start at approximately 40 mg/ 1.4 oz. Your dog can experience seizures if they have a dose of 60 mg/ 2.1 oz or more.
This means that a 30kg/ 66.1 lb dog could potentially eat up to 600mg / 21.1 oz of methylxanthines and not feel many effects, while the same amount for a 10kg/ 22 lb would likely result in seizures and maybe even death.
What Happens if a Dog Eats a Little Bit of Chocolate?
Ultimately, it depends on the size of your dog as to how affected they will be by consuming a small amount of chocolate. A larger dog may not show any symptoms if they have had a very small dose of methylxanthines, whereas a small dog won’t need much before it exhibits symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity.
What Type of Chocolate is Worse for Dogs?
Dark chocolate is by far the worst type of chocolate for your dog to consume, because it has a much higher concentration of methylxanthines, in particular theobromine. Cocoa powder is particularly lethal to dogs, and any amount of this consumed will likely result in a visit to the vets. Just 3.5g of plain dark chocolate per kilogram or .1 oz per pound of your dog’s bodyweight can be dangerous.
Milk chocolate is less deadly to dogs than dark chocolate, with 14g of solid milk chocolate per kilogram or .4 oz per pound of your dog’s bodyweight being dangerous, according to the Blue Cross. White chocolate is the least toxic to dogs due to the lower concentration of methylxanthines present.
What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Chocolate?
The most sensible action to take if your dog has consumed chocolate and you are worried about it is to contact your veterinary practise immediately. Your local vet can help you to determine whether your dog will suffer any effects from eating the chocolate, by comparing how much they ate with their weight and predicted dose tolerance. You should certainly take your dog to the vet if you are unsure how much chocolate they have eaten, as a high dose can result in seizures and even death if left untreated.
Treating Your Dog: Sustainable Pet Supplies by Nina Woof
Instead of giving your dog a chocolate treat, why not treat them to some new vegan leather pet supplies? Check out our new range of vegan leather dog collars, pet leashes and other premium pet accessories. Try out our brand-new product: compostable dog waste bags.