Why is Chocolate bad for Dogs? What should you do if your dog eats chocolate?
Many of us have been told not to let your dog eat chocolate. But do you know why?
Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine. Theobromine is a chemical compound that is metabolized into a chemical called xanthine in the dog’s liver. Xanthine is bad for dogs because it is toxic. The hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and your dog’s size. In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog.
A large dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects.
A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea. With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.
The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. Typically, your dog will vomit on their own. If not, your vet might want you to give them hydrogen peroxide to make them throw up. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed above, call your veterinarian immediately.
Different chocolate types have different theobromine levels. Cocoa, cooking chocolate, and dark chocolate contains the highest levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest. If you’re dealing with any quantity of dark or bitter chocolate, err on the side of caution. The high level of theobromine in dark chocolate means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.
You might be wondering: why is chocolate bad for dogs, but not for humans?
Well, believe it or not, theobromine, and therefore chocolate is actually toxic to humans as well. The major difference between dogs and humans is that humans can metabolize or break down the theobromine at a much higher rate. To put this in perspective, a dog weighing 17 pounds needs to consume about 1 pound of milk chocolate to reach a lethal dose.
In conclusion, when it comes to dogs and chocolate, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Never consider chocolate as a reward and never give your dog anything that contains chocolate.
Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians. The above is information based on our own research and questions we’ve asked our own vet.