My Dog Ate Chocolate – Not a Good Treat

It is never advisable to give your dog chocolate. You hear stories about dogs eating chocolate and dying, and in principle it can happen but frankly it’s not as serious a concern as some panic mongers would have you think.

It takes a hell of a lot of milk chocolate to harm a dog, dark chocolate is somewhat more dangerous and baking/cooking chocolate the highest risk, but first let’s get the dangers of dogs eating chocolate rationalized.

Level of Danger

My Dog Ate chocolate
If you come downstairs to find that he has found your chocolate stash and gobbled it up, then chances are that it is nothing to panic over. It is most likely milk chocolate as that’s what is the most common chocolate around, and the amount he would need to eat to be in any danger is probably more than you could eat yourself if he’s on the larger side.

What’s most relevant is the size of the dog. The type of chocolate is another major factor. Some chocolate has higher concentrations of cocoa and when you get up to baking chocolate then the dangers are more concerning.

Chocolate contains Theobromine which in large quantities is toxic to a dog. It comes from the same family of caffeine. But take note that although it takes a hell of a lot of milk chocolate to harm a dog, when we talk about semisweet or even more so bakers chocolate the ratio of Theobromine is greatly increased.

In rough terms, it means that with milk chocolate the danger limit is 1 ounce for every lb your dog weighs. With semisweet chocolate, less chocolate is more dangerous with 1 ounce to every 3 lbs your dog weighs. With bakers chocolate it’s far more of a danger with 1 ounce being able to harm a 9lb dog.

Other factors have to be taken into consideration such as the sensitivity of the dog and strength of the chocolate.

Little Dogs Most At Peril

So it seems size matters as it’s far easier for a small dog to find a quantity of chocolate that could be enough to harm him. The larger the dog, it is less likely that he would find enough chocolate. Yet a smaller amount which could be just the amount you leave lying around may harm a small dog

Don’t Give Them the Taste

My Dog Ate chocolate
So as established, small amounts of chocolate won’t hurt a dog but its best to never give them anyway as this gives them a taste for it putting them in more danger. If it was to ever come to pass that your dog had an absolute chocolate fest on your cooking chocolate and really did exceed these limits then he is likely to experience increase of the heart rate, diarrhea and vomiting, muscle tremors, over excited and hyper irritable, restless as well as increased urination. In those extremely rare cases then he could go into coma or even die but it’s unlikely.

Treatment

There is no antidote to Theobromine toxicity and generally it will run its course over 12 to 36 hours dependent on the amount he has ingested. If you suspect he has eaten chocolate in any quantity observe him and if you feel he has really had an excess amount then take him to the vet to be safe.

Treatment is only to keep him stable and the diarrhea and vomiting is treated with IV fluids. In some cases they may induce vomiting and in more serious cases anti seizure and heart medications. But chances are it will not be that serious unless he really has had a lot. For safety’s sake keep chocolate locked away to prevent a problem.

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