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How Much Chocolate Can Kill a Dog?

Dogs vs. chocolate

Chocolate is awesome. For people, it is quite innocent and most of us will eventually admit to this guilty pleasure. However, if you are a dog owner, you may have heard that chocolate is not as safe to your furry friend and it is recommended to not have the pet anywhere close to it.

As humans, we have other responsibilities. Naturally, it is impossible to have your eyes on your dog 24/7. It may happen that you have accidentally dropped a small chocolate piece on the floor and your dog snatched it right away, or you fed a slice of food that had chocolate in it without you even knowing.

Despite the reason, any responsible owner will always want to educate themselves and be prepared for the worst. If you are here, you can count yourself as one. Props to you!

That being the case, you definitely want to be aware of how much chocolate can kill your dog.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Before we answer what is the lethal amount, we need to understand the dangerous elements that chocolate consists of. 

Chocolate contains the toxic agent methylxanthines, more specifically –theobromine and caffeine. Dogs, in comparison to humans, are unable to break theobromine, and, thus, it causes issues.

How much chocolate can kill your dog?

Generally, anything above 20mg of methylxanthine per 1kg of body weight could cause trouble. When it comes to the lethal dose is reported to be 100mg – 500mg / 1kg of a dog’s body weight.

Chocolate TypeAmount of TheobromineLethal Dose / Kg
Chocolate Cocoa Powder20mg/g5g+
Baking Chocolate15mg/g6.5g+
Dark Chocolate14mg/g7g+
Milk Chocolate2mg/g50g+
White Chocolate0.1mg/g1kg+
Data by Mypeterinarian.com

As the table suggests, white chocolate is not directly poisonous to dogs. It contains a minimal quantity of theobromine. Nevertheless, even white chocolate can disturb the digestion processes in your dog´s body. This disturbance can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Thus, white chocolate is not recommended to be fed either.

What Are The Symptoms And When Do They Occur?

Based on the amount of toxic agent consumed, your dog may encounter the following symptoms:

  1. 20mg of methylxanthines / 1kg of body weight – mild symptoms
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    • increased thirst
    • panting
    • restlessness
    • excessive urination
  2. 40mg+ of methylxanthines / 1kg of body weight – severe symptoms
    • abnormally high heart rate
    • tremors
    • seizures
    • collapsing

The symptoms may appear at different time intervals after consuming chocolate. It is caused by the aforementioned factors. However, it usually takes 6 to 12 hours and they last up to 72 hours.

What do I do if my dog eats chocolate – home remedies

If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate or noticed any of the symptoms, do not hesitate and call your veterinarian instantly. He/she would most probably ask about your dog’s weight, how much chocolate it ate, what type of chocolate it ate, and when it ate it.

In many cases, veterinarians only recommend monitoring your dog’s behavior. Especially, checking whether there appear any of those above-stated symptoms. And additionally, also their extent and progression.

In instances where the dog is brought to a clinic within a period of 2 hours after eating chocolate, activated charcoal can be provided. This will help the poisonous agents in chocolate leave the body without any absorption into the bloodstream.

If it is urgent and you do not have an opportunity of seeing your vet, you can take action on your own. Make sure you are extra attentive to the instructions.

Inducing Vomiting To Your Dog

Once again, even if you are attempting to induce vomiting on your own, do your best and find an available vet service that you can call. The vet will guide you through the process and make sure that everything goes right.

To induce vomiting is the only home remedy we, at MyPeterinarian, consider safe. Video from youtube.com – Justine Lee

As per AKC recommendations, to induce vomiting, you will need a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Make sure it is no more than that, as the higher percentage is toxic and may cause serious damage.

  1. If your dog hasn’t eaten in the last 2 hours, begin by feeding him a small meal. This will increase the chance of vomiting.
  2. Deliver the right amount. The standard dosage is 1 teaspoon per 2 kg of your dog’s body weight, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for a dog that weighs more than 20kg. If you can, always ask your veterinarian for the dosage that is proper in your case.
  3. Squirt the dosage with a feeding syringe. Pull back the lips and squirt from the side in between the teeth. Watch the video above for the precise method.
  4. Keep an eye on your dog during the entire process. Notice if there are any complications such as vomiting for more than 45 minutes, diarrhea, bloat, or gastric ulcers.
  5. After your dog vomits, collect the substance for your vet to analyze. Make sure the dog does not re-ingest the material.
  6. Follow up with your vet as soon as possible.

Don’t fall for a trap. Be precautious

We love our dogs and we may often fall for those adorable eyes and loving faces. However, dogs are smart and may just as well fake it in order to achieve their desired goal. More snacks!

As we all know, they are extra curious creatures and can easily be attracted to various types of scents. Moreover, they are exceptional observants.

Once they see you with a piece of chocolate they may immediately assume it is something for them too. Their natural instinct might kick in and as soon as your eyes are not on them, they will use the chance and give it a try.

The best practice is to be precautious and prevent that from happening in advance. This will require mutual efforts from you and your furry friend. Here are some tips you can do.

Mind where you store chocolate

We mentioned dogs having extraordinary sniffing abilities. That means, your chocolate placement has to be strategic.

Keep it in unreachable places and preferably in closed cabinets or cupboards.

Prepare your dog for these situations

Dogs used to be wild animals, and even though many of them don’t seem that way anymore the wild animal is still somewhere in them.

If we want them to be obedient we must teach them some “manners”. Dogs can do various stunts. From basic commands as “sit” and “stay” to more advanced as “bark” or army crawling.

Dogs can be also trained to avoid some specific areas or items, as in this case chocolate.

Spread the word

As we said earlier in the article, dogs’ eyes, adorable faces and body language can easily enchant us. Thus, people feed dogs, or pets in general with literally anything they have nearby (cheese, ham, pastry, etc.)

Therefore, it is important that you make sure that everybody in your household and guests coming to visit you know what they can and cannot feed your doggy. Or simply, tell them you are the owner and it’s only you who will feed it.

And after reading this article, you hopefully know more about the toxicity of chocolate and how serious it can get when the curious doggo of yours consumes it.

Can Other Animals Eat Chocolate?

Due to the aforementioned theobromine and caffeine is chocolate poisonous also to other pets, as for example cats and rabbits. Even though it is usually dogs that get into chocolate, be aware that any animal can consume it as well.

The symptoms are similar or the same is in the dogs’ instances, they include:

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

Chocolate can have fatal consequences in case no treatment is provided and the amount of eaten chocolate is above the safe limit.

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