Today you’re going to see the best answer for the question: can dogs eat chocolate?
First I will answer this your question base on my in-depth research in this field…
Then you’ll know what happens if a dog eats chocolate and what to do if your dog eats chocolate.
Let’s dive right in.
Chocolate always gets me excited. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate shake – it seems that everything has a chocolate flavour! They keep making more because we keep buying more. We keep buying more because we love it. Cheat day is not complete without a tile from a chocolate bar.
I personally never ran out of chocolate treats. I never know when my sweet tooth craves so somewhere in the dark corners of the refrigerator compartment, you will find kisses on the loose or maybe a couple of tootsie rolls. I also have my very own brownie recipe which I’m keeping a secret! Without saying more, it seems fairly obvious how much I love the sweet stuff.
Then again, this article is not really about the love I have for chocolates. Everything from here on now is a discussion about dogs and their appetite for the cocoa treat. And most of you may have already heard that chocolate is the number one human food dogs must avoid. If you are not quite sure about the things that you know about this matter, feel free to read on. At the end of this article, you will be able to get a complete answer to the question, “Can dogs eat chocolate?”
What You Need To Know About Dogs and Chocolates
Humans and dogs are different in a lot of ways. But there is one thing they hold in common and that is, they are both omnivores.
If you sat through your entire fifth grade science class in which your teacher told you everything about this, you would know that omnivores are animals that live on a plant-based and animal-based diet. That means that there is a lot of human food that could be safely fed to dogs.
Compared to cats which are obligate carnivores, dogs and human food have better “compatibility”. Still, not all kinds of human food are good for dogs and feeding our canine pets with the same food we eat is not very wise.
Putting Wiggles in the same food diet as yours will put his health at risk. This is why I write these articles – to give you the basics of the what and what-nots of food for dogs.
Now that we know this, let us learn more about chocolates.
Chocolates are well known for its sweetness. Dark chocolate has a bitter aftertaste but the magic of cocoa butter still make its way into a chocoholic’s tongue.
Chocolate is made from ground and roasted cacao seeds which makes it a plant-based food. It is 65 percent fat, 30 percent carbohydrates and 10 percent protein.
Regular, sugary chocolate is not very good for the human health. However, there are a few benefits Dark chocolates can offer to humans.
Dark chocolate is actually a great source of antioxidants like polyphenols, flavanols and catechins which combat harmful free radicals. It has also been proven that the stuff lowers the risk of heart disease.
Quality dark chocolate is packed with minerals and a decent amount of fiber which is very good for digestion. It contains iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Still, it is not very good to be consumed in large amounts regularly. Dark chocolate is still chocolate and the treat is also popularly known for its very high level of calories.
How about dogs? Is it true that chocolate is not good for them, and very dangerous even?
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?
Let me give you a straightforward answer.
Dogs CANNOT eat chocolates.
You have heard the rumours right. Chocolate is toxic for dogs and must be avoided at all cost. It may be a taste of heaven for humans but dogs may take this idiom literally if you feed them chocolates. This is a very serious matter that should not be ignored.
The danger of chocolates depends on what type it is, how much your dog has consumed and how big your dog is.
Now what I’m about to say is one of the most important information you could get from this read. I hope you are still following.
- According to veterinarian Dr. Jerry Klein of the American Kennel Club, the darker the chocolate, the more poisonous it is to dogs. It appears that dark chocolate is good for humans but serves the opposite for canines.
- Aside from this, semi-sweet or baking chocolate was also mentioned to have high levels of toxicity for Barky. This proves that even though the two groups are omnivores, not all human food is safe to be consumed by dogs. It contains 150 – 160 mg of theobromine which is poisonous to dogs.
- Cocoa powder is also very dangerous for dogs. It contains 800 mg of theobromine or canine toxin. This is very dangerous for dogs. As a responsible dog owner, you must keep your cocoa high up in the shelf.
- But here is some good news. Milk chocolate or white chocolate is actually okay for dogs. Turns out, as long as it does not contain much cocoa, it will not do much harm to canines. Still, one ounce of this chocolate per pound of body weight could still bring negative effects to your dog’s health. It has been cited that white chocolate has 40-60 mg of chocolate toxin. Still, only a number of brands have been adding more of the “canine poison”. This, however, does not mean you should give a lot of milk chocolate to your dogs. At the end of the day, it is still not healthy for them. You can feed some of it to your pets as an occasional snack, perhaps a treat for being a such a good boy, but it should not be part of his regular main diet.
It was also mentioned that the risk for chocolate poisoning depends on how big or small your dog is and how much chocolate your pet has consumed. For example, a large dog like a Boxer could eat a piece of m&m’s and it would not hurt him a bit. However, if your Shih tzu eats an entire tube of Toblerone, you might want to bring the little thing to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?
What is it in chocolates that make our dogs sick? Is it because of its delicious taste? It’s brown color? It’s sticky feel?
Well, I’m here to clear this confusion.
Chocolates contain methylxanthines specifically caffeine and theobromine. Dogs are very sensitive to this substance. Dark chocolate contains a lot of theobromine and that is why it is the most poisonous kind of chocolate for dogs. However, it has been reported that a number of brands also injects the same substance to the once harmless white or milk chocolate. This means that even white chocolate could pose the same risk of toxicity as the dark ones.
Theobromine targets a dog’s heart, kidney and central nervous system. These are the most crucial parts of a dog’s body.
While humans can easily process chocolate, even a small amount of chocolate is bad for your dog. This is because canines do not have a metabolism to digest methylxanthines like humans do. As a result, chocolate toxins build up in their bodies causing a reaction. The reactions are not a simple tummy ache or loose stool. The manifestations range from small unnoticeable symptoms to severe ones. To know more about this, refer to the next section.
What happens if a dog eats chocolate – Signs of Chocolate Poisoning
When your dog has eaten some chocolate, the negative manifestation would not show itself immediately. So do not ever for a second think that giving your canine a Hershey bar is fine just because he looked jolly after eating it. It turns out the symptoms of chocolate poisoning will manifest itself six to twelve hours after the dog ingested the chocolate.
Here is a list of what you should look out for:
- Your dog may show signs of being extremely thirsty.
- This thirst will make him drink so much water which will result to increased urination.
- Wiggles may also suffer tummy troubles like diarrhea. Now that is some stinky stuff right there.
- Vomiting which may include blood. If you notice some blood coming out of your dog’s puke, this is something to be worried about. I am not trying to scare you with these words. But I do advise that you seek help immediately.
- Internal bleeding
- Muscle tension and incoordination
- You may also notice hyperactivity. Chocolates will make your dog seem super energetic in a weird kind of way.
- Another manifestation is panting or breathing heavily in a fast rate with their tongue out.
- Elevated or abnormal heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat. This is a symptom which is not very obvious when you simply observe your dog.
- Now that is scary.
- Your dog may also experience shaking as if cold. This is one of the more serious manifestations of chocolate poisoning. If your dog’s condition has reached this level, you better drive your dog to the clinic as soon as possible.
- If your dog experiences seizure, bring him to the veterinary clinic immediately
- Worst case scenario, your dog could be put in a coma. That is just heart breaking.
Chocolate contains stimulants which could last 72 hours inside a canine’s body. That is why it is best to bring him to the clinic as early as possible to prevent the worsening of your dog’s condition and also to lower your medical costs. You may have only gone to the vet for check-ups or consultations. To tell you the truth, having a dog is very costly if you do not already know that. There is the cost for food, vitamins, accessories and grooming. The money you have spent on medical bills and expenses could have been spent on dog treats and toys that will surely bring joy to your dog.
If you still have some questions about the symptoms of chocolate poisoning, ask your vet about it.
What to do if your dog eats chocolate?
Maybe it’s Valentine’s Day and your sweetheart may have laid a chocolate surprise for you at the doorstep.
Maybe it’s Halloween and chocolate candy treats are all over the house.
Maybe you scattered cocoa shell mulch in your property and your dog have smelled and ate it.
Whatever happened and your dog may have eaten chocolate, there is one thing you should do. When you notice the signs mentioned above, bring your pet immediately to a veterinary clinic.
Once you are in the clinic, stop panicking and remain calm. Your veterinarian would be able to take care of your dogs from then. The most common way to treat chocolate poisoning is by use of fluids and IV drugs. The doctor may also use apomorphine, a drug which will make your dog throw up. It will use some stomach pumping action to flush the chocolate out of your dog’s system. The vet could also use a drug called activated charcoal which will prevent the chocolate from mixing with your pet’s blood. The professionals know what they are doing.
Your dog may actually vomit on his own to get rid of the chocolate inside his body. If not, your veterinary doctor will intervene through giving him some hydrogen peroxide. This will make the canine throw up. There is actually no chocolate poisoning antidote. The only way to get rid of the toxin is to make your pet throw up in hopes of getting all the theobromine out of his body.
In case you are too far from the clinic, you can actually do this procedure by yourself. You can use a turkey baster or a medicine dropper. Give your pet one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide for every twenty pounds of his weight.
If you are sure your dog has had chocolate, you should not just sit there and wait for the symptoms to show before doing anything. You can’t say, “My dog looked okay after I fed him some chocolate. I think there is no need to bring him to the doctor.” The signs do not manifest itself the second after they swallow the chocolate so do not get complacent even for a moment. This kind of attitude will put your dogs in grave danger. It is said that a lot of dogs survive chocolate poisoning because of dog parents who think and act fast.
ASPCA or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a hotline open 24 hours a day for reports about dog poisoning. On average, they receive 27 calls on dog poisoning every day. Also, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
If you need some help trying to figure out if your dog has eaten the amount of chocolate that is bad for him, there is actually an online calculator free for your use. It just needs the amount of chocolate and the weight of your dog then voila! Then again,
Prevent Your Dog from Eating Chocolate
If you have kids in the house that may leave their unfinished chocolate snack bars lying around low areas where your dog may reach, you may be in constant worry that your pet might find and eat some chocolate one day. To make sure you are making your environment safe for your dogs, here are a few things to remember. These are just some of the tips before we finish the article so feel free and read on.
- Keep chocolates far from your dog’s reach. Keep it in your fridge, in your pantry, on a high shelf, on a covered jar but never leave it opened by the living room table. Accidents can happen. You may have not fed your dog chocolate intentionally because you know it is bad for them but your canine may find his way to it if you do not store your sweets properly.
- Train your dog to “leave it”. Canines can be taught what food to avoid through basic training.
Can dogs eat Chocolate? – The Final Thought
If there is one thing dog owners should know about the canine diet, it is that chocolates are really bad for dogs. Chocolate may be your favourite treat. Sadly, it is not something for Barky. And do not even try to feed him even a bite of dark chocolate.
Remember, the bitterer the chocolate is, the more poisonous it is for dogs. Also, keep in mind that the smaller your dog is, the more he is at risk of chocolate poisoning.
Do not worry. There are other treats you can feed your dog. But let’s just skip on the chocolate and save them for ourselves, okay?
I hope you enjoyed this read! If you have anything in mind that you would like to share, drop by the comment section and tell us what you are thinking. Also, if you know some new dog-parents which may be needing this information, click share and spread the word.