Dogs And Chocolate Don’t Mix

There’s no way to softpedal it. Chocolate and dog metabolism don’t mix. It’s one of those things that people regularly try to debunk. A quick internet search on chocolate and dog poisoning will turn up quite a few sites that talk about the toxicity of chocolate to dogs. Many of them downplay the seriousness, or comment that the amount of chocolate needed to kill a dog is enormous. We want to put that myth to rest right now. Chocolate is not safe for your dog to eat.

Dogs And Chocolate Don't Mix
Chocolate and dog metabolism don’t mix – image copyright Lynn Kelley Author via

When we talk about chocolate and dog poisoning, we tend to think in terms of dead dogs. There’s more to chocolate toxicity than death, though. Even a small amount of chocolate can make your pooch mighty sick – and make them mighty sick for several days. The effects of chocolate on dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, increased urination, dehydration, irritability, seizures and, yes, death.

According to the Wellness Clinic at the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, chocolate is one of the 20 most reported poisonings. The ASPCA puts it at #7 in the top ten list of hazards for pets in 2005, with over 4800 cases of chocolate poisoning reported to their Animal Poison Control Center. Even, where most people turn to get their urban myths confirmed or debunked, warns people that chocolate is hazardous to dogs. In confirming the Internet ‘myth’ that cocoa mulch, used by many gardeners because of its sweet smell, is dangerous to dogs, the internet’s most famous urban myth site states, “chocolate in any form poses substantial risks to some pets”.

Chocolate and Dog Digestion – How Much is Too Much?

The confusion about whether or not chocolate is bad for dogs arises from the differing kinds of chocolate that are available. You see, chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. It’s a stimulant similar to caffeine, and it’s this substance in chocolate that causes the problems for dogs. Because different kinds of chocolate have differing amounts of theobromine in them, some kinds of chocolate cause fewer problems than others. The amount of chocolate eaten, the type of chocolate eaten and the weight, health and age of the dog all will affect how sick your dog gets if he manages to get into your Easter basket or bag of Halloween goodies. If your German Shepherd filches a bon bon out of your Valentine heart, it’s not likely to cause him much more than an upset stomach. On the other hand, if your Yorkie eats as little as one or two squares of bakers chocolate, you’re facing a potentially fatal reaction.

Add into the mix that dogs will gorge themselves on things that they like given a chance. That German Shepherd isn’t likely to stop at one bon bon if he manages to get into the chocolate box. He’s far more likely to woof down the entire pound box. With all the variables, it’s difficult to say how much is too much chocolate for a dog. In general, the bigger the dog, the more they can eat without showing serious ill effects – but the bigger the dog, the more they are likely to eat. And even a few squares of bakers chocolate or a few ounces of bakers cocoa can necessitate a visit to the vet for large dog.

Continued At : Dog Eating Chocolate – What To Do

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  1. Ashley says

    My dog ate 4 twixs minis i left it on the table i was doing valentines day cards. I wonder if he is going to be okay he weighs 35 punds and i am worried

  2. frank b says

    Steve B, your personal experience notwithstanding, you are ill serving the audience by minimizing the effects of chocolate on dogs. My 35 pound dog ate about 6 ounces of dark chocolate and nearly died. He looked as if he had overdosed on crack, which is pretty much the effect that a dog gets. The half life of the chocolate is about 16 hours so if the dog eats enough to get a buzz, the effects last literally for days.

    His symptoms included: extreme agitation, extreme urinating, inability to sit still at all, increased heart rate and metabolism, panting, extremely short and rapid breathing.

    The dog required IVs and tranquilizers to stabilize his condition.

    While you are right that eating a chocolate chip cookie isn’t going to hurt a dog, if the dog eats enough dark chocolate they will have a reaction similar to a cocaine overdose, only the overdose will last for days rather than minutes.

  3. steve B says

    Nancy, my bet is that by now your dog had proven just fine. Odd that this ‘poison’ is also the same thing that helps humans with antioxidents in both tea and dark chocolate.

  4. steve B says

    I disagree with you. I know for a fact that my dog has eaten 10oz of dark chocolate without any ill effect. When I called the vet, they asked for her weight, and at 70lbs, they kind of laughed at me and said “no problem”.

    You need to understand the science is that the ‘poison’ in chocolate is also poisonous to humans in large doses. The DIFFERENCE is that dogs can’t remove this from their body efficiently. Humans can get it out of their system within 30 minutes. Dogs, 72 hours! So it stays in the system longer.. and it’s cumulative!

    This dog is now 13, and just 3 days ago, my daughter left a 1lb of hear chocolates on the floor, and the dog age them all. She has had NO side effects. Yes, I was worried, but she’s fine.

    Not that this isn’t a serious concern, it IS real.. but it’s is far overblown.

    If your dog is tiny, like 15lbs or less, be concerned, if your dog is 50lbs or more, he would have to eat an insane amount to cause ill effects.

    NOTE: if your dog DOES eat chocolate, watch for vomiting and restlessness or otherwise unusual behavior. ALso note the type of chocolate. My dog could eat 3lbs of milk chocolate and just get an upset digestive system, but 16 oz of bakers chocolate could cause some serious issues. Also note that all dark chocolate is not the same. The dove/dark my dog ate was 50%coacoa, nestles semi-sweet is slightly less, but more gormet chocolates can be 60-85% Granted you don’t buy these chocolates in high amounts. Bakers chocalate is nearly 100% So it’s NOT an exact science. So if in doubt, call your vet, but do NOT panic and do NOT hesitate to give your dog a chocolate chip cookie once and a while… just keep in mind not to make a habit of it.

  5. Nancy says

    My 5 month old puppy just drank a cup of coffee with eggnog cream in it…I am very worried, all the web sites are telling me Signs typically begin with restlessness, hyperactivity and vomiting. These can be followed by panting, weakness, drunken gait increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions…This happened an hour ago and I don’t know when the signs are supposed to appear. Is she going to die? What should I do?

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