While there are many human foods that can be safely fed to our four legged friends in small doses, chocolate unfortunately is not one of them. If your dog has eaten chocolate you are strongly advised to contact your local vet immediately for medical advice.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and depending on the quantity your dog has eaten can result in vomiting, diarrhoea or even seizures and in sever cases can be fatal.
How much chocolate is toxic for my dog?
The effect of your dog eating chocolate is determined by a few main factors:
- How much your dog weighs
- How much chocolate your dog ate
- What type of chocolate your dog ate (dark, white, milk)
There is a chemical in chocolate called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, and is highly poisonous to dogs.
Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine however the general rule is that the more bitter the chocolate, the higher the toxicity to your dog.
As a rough guide:
- White chocolate has the least at around 0.25 mg per 28 grams of chocolate
- Milk chocolate contains 44–58 mg per 28 grams of chocolate
- Dark chocolate contains between 130–450 mg per 28 grams of chocolate
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning?
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can take several hours to show, and even longer to disappear. Some signs that your dog may have eaten chocolate are:
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Faster than normal heartbeat
- Muscle spasms
High doses of chocolate ingested can result in cardiac arrest which is where the heart fails to pump blood effectively and can lead to sudden death or permanent internal damage if not provided with immediate emergency medical attention.
How is chocolate poisoning treated?
The treatment can vary depending on the amount of chocolate that your dog has eaten however the first step if treated early is to induce vomiting, and try to block absorption of the theobromine before it is absorbed into your dogs body.
Depending on the severity of the poisoning, it may be necessary to administer IV fluids to help flush out your pets system.