Is chocolate bad for a dog?
You may have heard people say chocolate will kill a dog? Is that really true? If I can eat chocolate, why can’t my dog?
If you’re thinking of feeding chocolate to your dog please stop right now, and read on…
Dogs and people are different in lots of ways, and some food stuffs we enjoy are simply not appropriate for feeding to a dog.
Chocolate is one of them.
So, is chocolate bad for a dog, and if so, why?
Chocolate and dogs don’t go well. For dogs, a chemical in chocolate called theobromine is the root of the problem. Theobromine is similar in many ways to caffeine (which is something else you should not give your dog).
Theobromine in chocolate is toxic to a dog when it ingests between 100 and 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. If your dog snatches a biscuit with the odd chocolate drop then you won’t likely see any ill effects, but it may still pose a risk.
Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine: It would take 20 ounces of milk chocolate to kill a 20-pound dog, but only 2 ounces of baker’s chocolate or 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate. Dark chocolate contains much more theobromine than milk chocolate, so even a small amount may cause harm.
It is not hard for a sneaky dog to get into something like an Easter basket full of chocolate eggs and bunnies and gobble up a pound or two of chocolate.
If the dog is small, that could be deadly.
Most dog owners know chocolate is poisonous, but keep in mind it’s the quantity and choice of chocolate that can make the difference between a bit of sickness and severe illness.
A simple rule of thumb is this – never give your dog chocolate.
What are signs of chocolate poisoning dogs?
The following are common symptoms of chocolate poisoning in a dog:
- Hyper excitability
- Hyper irritability
- Increased heart rate
- Increased urination
- Muscle tremors
If your dog has eaten chocolate, and especially if your dog is displaying any of those symptoms, then the time to act is now.
What to do if your dog eats chocolate?
If your dog eats chocolate, particularly in excess, then immediately call your veterinarian.
Your vet will ask you how much chocolate your dog has consumed, what kind, and when. They will also ask what symptoms your dog is displaying. Offer them all the information you can.
Your vet will recommend an immediate course of action, but if your dog has consumed excess chocolate (particularly dark chocolate), then you may need to take your dog immediately to the vet.
The course of action your vet will take is dependent on the dose of theobromine they suspect your dog has consumed. They may induce vomiting, use IV fluids, appropriate medicine (such as anti-seizure or potentially heart failure drugs).
Most dogs can recover within 2 to 3 days after treatment for theobromine poisoning from chocolate, but never take any chances.
Never reward your dog with chocolate
You should never give chocolate in any form to your dog. There is absolutely no need, and a healthy and balanced food such as meat (i.e. boiled chicken breast) is more a treat for your dog than chocolate will ever be.
Your dog will also respond to verbal encouragement with lots of love and attention more than they would chocolate.
So is chocolate bad for a dog? Yes! Do not feed chocolate to your dog, of any kind, ever!