By Kritesh Anand
We all know that chocolate is not good for dogs.
Chocolate is made from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao. There is an alkaloid in Theobroma cacao which is named as “theobromine.”
Theobromine is a toxic component that causes ill-effects in dogs. We humans can easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs can’t.
Very slow metabolism of theobromine allows its accumulation up to toxic levels in a dog’s body. Theobromine is responsible for stimulating the cardiovascular system and central nervous system and increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Excessive consumption of chocolate by a dog can cause diarrhea, panting, excessive urination, excessive thrust, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, vomiting, muscle twitching, hyperactive behavior, digestive problems, change in heart beat, and even death. Now there arises the bigger question. How much is too much?
How dangerous chocolate is to a dog depends on the amount of chocolate consumed by the dog. Also a larger dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before it becomes dangerous.
The type of chocolate consumed by the dog also plays a role. White chocolate contains less theobromine. The darker the chocolate and the more cocoa powder content it has, it will be more dangerous it is for your dog. The amount of theobromine is 16 times higher in cocoa powder than milk chocolate. That means 0.5 ounces of baking chocolate or 4 ounces of milk chocolate can have an equal sickening effect on a 10 pound dog.
Theobromine amounts in different types of chocolate:
• Cocoa powder: 800 mg/oz
• Baker’s chocolate (unsweetened): 450 mg/oz
• Dark chocolate: 150 mg/oz
• Milk chocolate: 50 mg/oz
• 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of dog’s body weight
• 1/3 ounce of dark chocolate per pound of dog’s body weight
• 1/9 ounce of baker’s chocolate per pound of dog’s body weight
• 1/16 ounce of cocoa powder per pound of dog’s body weight
To keep your dog safe and healthy, you shouldn’t feed him any amount of chocolate.
Once your dog has tasted chocolate it craves for more and will grab every opportunity to eat chocolate. Dogs don’t know which chocolate is more dangerous for them, and can ingest any chocolate they get.
Symptoms of theobromine poisoning:
• Cardiac arrhythmia
• Epileptic seizures
• Internal bleeding
• Rapid breathing
• Muscle tension
What if my dog has consumed chocolate?
Call your vet immediately. You can also start treatment at home by:
• Make your dog vomit. (To induce vomiting, you can feed your dog 1-2 tsp of hydrogen peroxide every 15 minutes).
• Get your dog to drink as much water as possible.
• Feed your dog small amounts of activated charcoal so that it may bind to the theobromine and prevent its entry into the bloodstream.
Diagnosing theobromine poisoning in dogs:
A chemical blood profile, a urinalysis and electrolyte panel can be performed to see if the dog has consumed excess doses of chocolate. Your vet may also perform an ECG to find if there is any increase or decrease in heart beat.
Treating theobromine poisoning in dogs:
There are no antidotes available to theobromine toxicity. Your vet can try to treat chocolate poisoning by giving the dog fluid and IV injections.
Hailing from Delhi, Kritesh is an ardent pet lover. He has two canine companions: Basenji and Bull Dog. With rich knowledge of nutritious pet food, pet care and pet accessories, he likes to share his knowledge with other pet lovers through his well-researched and informative articles.