My Dog Ate Chocolate – Should I be Concerned? Yes – It is Poisonous
The short answer is “yes.” If your dog ate chocolate you should be concerned, because chocolate is poisonous to dogs. The actual problems associated with your dog eating chocolate depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and your dog’s size. It is important to be aware that in large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill virtually any dog. Teach your children that Chocolate Is Not A Treat for dogs.
PLEASE NOTE: You are probably not a doctor and neither am I. If there is ANY Doubt in your mind, contact your Vet or a Pet Emergency Clinic immediately. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry.
Why is Chocolate Poisonous for Dogs and Not for Humans?
Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. Humans have no problem processing theobromine, and do it quickly. Dogs, on the other hand, process it much more slowly. This allows allows the toxic compound to build up to toxic levels in their system. You can see where attending a party with lots of people and several give your fur-baby a small piece could result in a large build up.
When Should I Be Concerned that my Dog Ate Chocolate?
Oh Yes! Be Concerned!
First, if your large dog ate chocolate they are less likely than a small dog to suffer ill effects. The large dogs can handle a larger amount.
Hyperactivity – your first sign to be worried that your dog ate chocolate! Severe Hyperactivity is usually the first sign of theobromine poisoning.
Tremors, seizures or irregular heartbeat are signs that you should already be on the way to your vet or a Pet Emergency Clinic. High levels of theobromine can cause these symptoms as well as internal bleeding or a heart attack.
A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed above, call your veterinarian immediately.
If Your Dog Ate Chocolate and It Was Dark Chocolate – Be Extra Vigilant
Different types of chocolate have different levels of theobromine.
- HIGH LEVELS – Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate contain the highest levels
- LOWER LEVELS – milk chocolate and white chocolate contain the lowest levels.
How Much is Too Much?
Any quantity of dark or bitter chocolate is a cause for extra caution. It takes only a very small amount of dark chocolate to poison a dog. A 44 pound dog can be poisoned by less than an ounce of dark chocolate (Via Hillspet)
Don’t Buy Treats Which Say Chocolate or Choco
There are dog treats that have various names that seem to say they contain Chocolate. While the treats themselves are probably safe, I am concerned about the message. Children, grand children, neighbors and others who see the treats on your counter may assume that any kind of chocolate if okay for dogs. Many people don’t know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs and we don’t want to spread false information even by implication.
In Summary – If Your Dog Ate Chocolate
A single piece of chocolate should not be a problem. (Do watch and remember that it takes less to harm a small dog.) If you dog ate chocolate and it was only a single piece, that piece usually doesn’t contain enough theobromine harm your dog; however, if you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to call and go to your veterinarian or a Pet Emergency Clinic NOW!
If you are concerned about Chocolate, you might like this article on Symptoms that say “Visit The Vet ASAP!“