A dog’s body can’t handle the high levels of caffeine and theobromine in chocolate, which are toxic to dogs. The quantity of chocolate an average-sized dog needs to ingest before it has a bad reaction varies from dog to dog and type to type of chocolate.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs as it contains theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. The potential toxicity 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.
(If you want to know what other human foods are harmful to your dog, you can read this blog post by Petcarerx.)
Many of us love chocolate, but did you know that the darker and more bitter the chocolate-the more dangerous it is to your pup? And, how much is too much if your dog accidentally eats your stash? Read on to find out.
How much chocolate can kill a dog?
A larger dog can eat more chocolate than a small dog before suffering with ill effects. A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
Treatment is required for dogs who have eaten 3.5g of dark chocolate for every kilogram they weigh and 14g of milk chocolate for every kilogram they weigh.
Never consider chocolate as a reward. Instead try our Best ever liver cake treats – wheat free : Homemade Dog Treats .
How much dark chocolate can kill a dog?
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.
Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate contain 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.
Is Cocoa Butter poisonous to dogs?
Cocoa butter, also known as cocoa fat or cacao fat, is a natural product extracted from the nib of the cocoa plant. The nib of the plant is ground into chocolate liquor and the cocoa butter is extracted from that. Cocoa butter contains minimal to no levels of theobromine which is the chemical in chocolate that is toxic to dogs.
However, your lotions and balms often contain other ingredients which your dog may have an allergic reaction to, so wash your hands throughly after you have applied your lotion before stroking your dog.
Why is chocolate poisonous to dogs?
The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
Signs you’re dog has been poisoned by chocolate and what to do
With large amounts, theobromine can produce the following symptoms:
- muscle tremors
- 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.
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 vet immediately.
If you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to call and go to your veterinarian right away. Do not wait.
Chocolate Toxicity Calculator
If you’re a dog owner and wondering how much chocolate can kill your dog, this calculator will tell you! Just enter the weight of your pup in pounds as well as what type of chocolate they ate (candy bar or cooking cocoa) and it’ll calculate potentially how toxic it it. It might be worth reiterating with your kids not to give dogs any type of food that isn’t specifically made for them since even both types of cocoa contain theobromine which could be fatal to their little furry friends!
To work out how much chocolate is poisonous for your particular dog please click here to open the toxicity calculator
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Infographic – How much chocolate can be poisonous to your dog
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