We love chocolate, but not everything that tastes good to us as humans is good for our animal companions. Chocolate is a food your dog cannot tolerate and is toxic to him. For this reason, as a dog owner, you should be sufficiently informed about dogs and chocolate. Learn more about how chocolate affects your dog’s health.
The most important, in brief
- Chocolate is toxic to your dog because it contains theobromine, which dogs cannot break down well.
- Darker chocolate is more toxic than light chocolate
- If your dog has eaten chocolate, you must act quickly and take him to the vet.
- Bring the rest of the chocolate and packaging to the vet, which will help you find the proper treatment.
- The smaller and lighter a dog, the less it tolerates chocolate.
Can dogs eat chocolate?
No! Dogs are not allowed to eat Chocolate! Chocolate includes theobromine, which dogs’ metabolism cannot break down quickly enough. Theobromine is in cocoa beans and is related to caffeine.
The higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the more toxic it is for your dog. Light chocolate has the lowest amount of theobromine, with about 2 mg/gram of chocolate. Dark chocolate can have a theobromine content of up to 26 mg/gram chocolate.
You can expect disease symptoms from consuming about 20 mg theobromine/ kg dog weight.
How chocolate affects the dog’s health
Depending on the size and weight of your dog and the amount and type of chocolate eaten, your four-legged friend can show different poisoning symptoms. If you are lucky and he has eaten very little light chocolate, it may be that your dog only “gets an upset stomach. In addition, diarrhea and vomiting.
Chocolate with a high cocoa content can cause cramps and muscle tremors more quickly. In the worst case, the chocolate causes internal bleeding, arrhythmia, or a heart attack. If the amount of theobromine in your dog is too high, he may die.
If your dog has eaten large amounts of chocolate and survived, your dog may need to be treated later.
From what amount is the consumption of chocolate dangerous for the dog?
The higher the cocoa content in the chocolate or the darker the chocolate, the more harmful it is for your dog. Light chocolate contains only a trace of theobromine, about 2 mg/gram of chocolate. Dark chocolate can hold up to 26 mg of theobromine/gram chocolate, and white chocolate has almost no theobromine.
Symptoms of the disease can occur from 20 mg theobromine/kg dog weight.
For example, 10 g of dark chocolate with 20 mg of theobromine can be dangerous for a 10 kg dog. That’s about a piece of chocolate.
What are the symptoms of eating chocolate?
Depending on how much chocolate your dog has eaten, different symptoms may occur, such as:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Fast heartbeat
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Breathing difficulties/panting
- Disturbances of consciousness
If your dog has survived the first 12 hours, it is less likely that he will die.
What to do if the dog has eaten chocolate?
Grab the rest of the chocolate and the packaging, and quickly take your dog to the vet. You should contact the vet on the way and let them know that you have eaten chocolate with a dog. The faster your dog is helped can do the more for him.
With the chocolate brought along, the doctor can determine how high the theobromine content of the chocolate is and adjust your dog’s treatment.
If you have them at hand, give your dog charcoal tablets. These consist of activated carbon, which binds the toxins in the stomach and intestines to themselves so they can no longer enter the bloodstream.
Be sure to take your dog to the vet, though.
Prevention is better than treatment; chocolate can be dangerous for your dog, even in small amounts. Make sure you keep your chocolate in a place that is inaccessible to your dog.
You can have activated charcoal tablets at home for extra help. If your dog has ever gotten to the chocolate, feed it a tablet. Activated carbon binds the toxins so they can no longer enter the bloodstream.
If you have dark chocolate, go to a veterinarian quickly, call beforehand and describe your situation. Take the chocolate leftovers and the packaging with you; they can help the doctor decide how to treat your pet. Also, tell the doctor if you have given your dog activated charcoal tablets.