Most dogs love chocolate as they are attracted to its sweet taste. Unfortunately, chocolate is one of the very toxic foods for dogs due to the theobromine it contains.
Theobromine is likely to cause:
- Digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea and vomiting.
- Nervous disorders such as anxiety, agitation, impaired coordination of movements (ataxia), of convulsions and coma.
- Cardiac and respiratory diseases such as problems in the heart rate rapid breathing and/or difficulty breathing,
- Death due to serious intoxication
Can my dog get intoxicated with chocolate?
The signs of intoxication appear between 1 to 12 hours after the dog has eaten chocolate. The signs of cardiac and nervous toxicities can appear from the ingestion of 60g of dark chocolate with 50% cocoa or 250g of milk chocolate in a dog of 10kg.
There is a serious risk on the life of dogs when the amount of chocolate eaten reaches 200g of dark chocolate or 500g of milk chocolate. In other words: a small dog of 5kg is likely to die after having eaten only half a bar of dark chocolate!
Are all chocolates dangerous for your dog?
The severity of the chocolate poisoning directly depends on the dose of theobromine ingested by the dog. This depends on the richness of chocolate in cocoa and therefore in theobromine. The more cocoa-rich the chocolate, the more toxic it is to the dog. Thus, dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate, and the more dark chocolate has a high percentage of cocoa, the more toxic it is for dogs.
White chocolate, consisting mainly of cocoa butter and sugar, contains only traces of theobromine. Generally, it does not cause poisoning, but still some digestive disorders or even pancreatitis due to its high-fat content if the dog eats large amounts.
Giving a very small dose of chocolate to a dog will not make him sick immediately, but if he is given that same small dose every day, it will gradually intoxicate him.
What to do if my dog has eaten chocolate?
If your dog has eaten chocolate, contact the veterinary clinic regardless of the amount of chocolate consumed and whatever the time the incident occurred.
Do not in any way try to make your dog vomit on your own or make him swallow anything. Try to recall some information that is helpful to your vet, such as:
- The time of ingestion
- The weight of your dog
- The quantity and type of chocolate eaten (if you can keep the package with you for presentation to your veterinarian it would be great)
Do all candies pose the same risk for dogs?
Not all candies are toxic, it depends on what they contain. As mentioned above, chocolate is one of the most dangerous ones, then comes those containing grapes or xylitol. These two ingredients are also part of the foods to avoid for dogs; they can cause death, seizures and liver damage.
What is a suitable candy replacement for dogs?
Fruits are excellent substitutes, strawberry, watermelon, raspberry, mango and pear. By incorporating them from time to time in your dog’s meals, you opt for a healthy and balanced diet, rich in vitamins and nutrients. You can read about which fruits are safe and which are dangerous for dogs here.