Dogs eating chocolate has never been a big concern for the average dog owner, including myself. But that is only because people like me are not aware of the danger of dogs eating chocolate, and how chocloate toxicity in dogs can be fatal.
One day when I was away from home, my ten month old poodle Daisy jumped up on one chair, to another stool that was near my cupboard, and helped herself to a bowl of chocolate kisses. When I returned home six hours later, my poodle had eaten 6 to 8 kisses, that I know of. But I wasn’t too concerned because I hadn’t been educated on dogs and chocolate. I was more amazed at her determination, and the well planned route my poodle made to get to the kisses.
Luckily, my dog Daisy was fine, other than a litle diarrhea that evening. But the question is raised “can dogs eat chocolate?”, or a better questions would be “should a dog eat chocolate?”. And the answer to both questions is NO. Veterinarians are seeing more and more cases of chocolate toxicity in dogs and cats every day.
How Much Chocolate Is Too Much
The toxic components in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine, although the theobromine is the biggest toxin to be worried about. The toxic and potentially fatal dose of chocolate is 60mg/kg. So a 10 lb dog would only need to consume 300mg of chocolate, or as little as 100mg to start having signs of problems.
To put this in perspective, a 5 oz milk chocolate bar has 250mg of theobromine, the same as 30 semisweet chocolate chips. But a dark chocolate bar (with 70% cocoa), has 600 mg of throbromine. And one ounce of dry cocoa powder has 700 mg of theobromine.
So a dog only has to eat only one third as much dark chocolate to become seriously ill. And this is becoming a great concern, with more and more people switching to dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate because it is healthier for humans to consume. But it becomes a greater risk for your dogs.
Signs Of Chocolate Toxicity
Some of the clinical signs that may occur 6 to 12 hours after dogs eating chocolate are Vomiting, Diarrhea, Bloating, Restlessness, Increased Drinking, and /or Increased Urinating. These are mild cases that will probably mean your dog will be alright.
Progressive signs of dogs eating chocolate might be Hyperactivity, Tremors, Seizures, Elevated Heart Rate/arrythmia, Cyanosis ( bluish gums), Elevated blood pressure, Increased resiprations, Hyperthermia or Coma. You would need to take your dog to a veterinarian for immediate treatment.
Cures For Chocolate Toxicity
It is always a good idea to induce vomiting the moment you see your dog consuming 20 mg/kg or more. This can be done by giving your dog hydrogen peroxide at 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. Repeat once more in 10 minutes, if your pet doesn’t vomit, but never more than that. You can also try salt by diluting 1 teaspoon of salt in a tablespoon of water per every 10lbs of body weight.
If you are a dog owner I recommend you keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide on hand in case of an emergency. And if you are a chocolate lover like myself, you will also want to keep a closer watch on dogs eating chocolate. Keeping it in the cupboard or a closed container will keep the temptation away from your dog. And it may also help your temptation, as well.