Most dog owners already know that chocolate is bad for dogs. But how can a harmless chocolate bar be a health hazard? What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning and what can be done to prevent them? Let’s straighten up your facts about chocolates, dogs and why they don’t go hand in hand.
Can Chocolate Kill A Dog?
Yes. Eating too much chocolate is a known health risk to humans, causing dental and obesity, to name a few. When it comes to dogs, depending on their size and how much has been ingested, chocolate could be fatal. Some symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and if not treated promptly can be very dangerous.
Dog Chocolate Poisoning
A survey from vets-now.com, showed that there is a peak in chocolate poisoning in dogs around Easter every year. Easter eggs made out of chocolates are scattered around the yard, garden, or inside the house. Most of them are placed in low and visible areas for smaller kids to easily see on their Easter Egg Hunt.
Dog owners however sometimes forget that their dogs might also join in the excitement and start hunting their own Easter eggs. That is why Vets warn dog owners to be very vigilant during these times.
How Much Chocolate Can A Dog Eat Without Dying?
Vets don’t advise giving your dog any type of chocolate. But if you ever end up pardoning them a bite or two, keep in mind that the more cocoa a bar of chocolate contains, the more dangerous it is for your dog. Milk chocolates and white chocolates are less risky than pure powdered cocoa and plain chocolate or dark chocolate bars, but both should be avoided.
How Much Chocolate Could Be Poisonous To Your Dog?
Chocolate poisoning depends on three factors:
- Dog size: A larger dog might not be bothered by any symptoms after eating a bar of milk chocolate while a smaller dog could already exhibit fatal signs after taking a few bites of the same milk chocolate bar.
- Amount and type of chocolate: The darker and bitter a bar of chocolate is, the more toxic it is for dogs. So both large and small dogs could show dangerous symptoms after taking a bite on a dark chocolate bar
- Dog’s sensitivity: Some dogs are hypersensitive to cocoa and might show early symptoms the minute they ingest a tiny piece of chocolate.
Generally, most dogs would show poisoning symptoms 2-4 hours after they ingest the chocolate. Depending on the three factors mentioned above, symptoms can also take up to 24 hours to appear and can last up to three days long. Be on the lookout for these signs:
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive urination
- Vomiting blood
- Rapid heart rate
- Abnormal thirst
- Muscle spasms
- Pupil dilation
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate
The best course of action is to call your vet immediately for advice on what to do, especially if your dog is already showing symptoms. If your dog has not shown any symptoms yet and if you can’t get a hold of the vet for any reason, try to induce vomiting by mixing 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide with water.
You can also try to mix it with peanut butter or ice cream to make it easier for your dog to eat. Remember that this is not going to be effective if your dog is already showing symptoms or if it’s been an hour or more since he ate the chocolate. Once your dog has vomited, (hopefully with the chocolate out of his system) do not give them anything to eat until you have talked to your vet.
If you have kids at home it is best to let them know, and everyone else in the family for that matter, that chocolates are toxic for your dog and can never be given out as treats. Although children are the ones who are more likely to give your dogs anything that they are eating, it’s reasonable to educate everybody at home about the hazards of chocolates on dogs.
If you are keen on gardening, take into reference the kind of mulch you are using. Cocoa shell mulch has a high level of toxicity, its chocolatey scent could be very attractive to your dog’s nose but dangerous too!.
Why Chocolate Is Toxic To Dogs
According to the FDA, cocoa, the bitter seed where chocolate comes from contains a compound called theobromine. Much like caffeine, theobromine stimulates our brain and makes us alert. Theobromine also does the same to our dogs’ central nervous system. However, due to our dog’s differences in size and build, their organs react differently to this compound.
We might feel an increase in heart rate after eating chocolate, but our dog’s small heart could palpitate rapidly out of control causing threats and even death.
Keeping Your Dog Safe From Chocolate
Aside from informing everyone in the house about the dangers of chocolate on your dog, you have to be sure to store your chocolates in sealed containers where doggie paws can’t reach them. Clean up right away after cooking or baking using chocolate bars as an ingredient.
If you have guests coming in, make sure to advise them not to give anything to your dog too, because not all your friends might be mindful of the risks it poses.
If your dog loves chocolate, it’s pretty easy to find alternative chocolate treats that are “dog friendly”. Just be cautious and ask what it’s made of first before buying. If you want to give them a healthy snack with massive benefits check out our selection of premium dog treats. We all adore our dogs and constantly want what’s best for them.
Part of that process is educating ourselves on what’s good and what’s bad to keep them healthy and happy. It is also our responsibility as dog owners to share this awareness with fellow dog owners to lessen the risk of unexpected poisoning of our dogs.