Everyone knows they shouldn’t give their dog chocolate, but not many people know why.
Some people think it is because of the caffeine, but there is only a small amount of caffeine in chocolate.
Chocolate is bad for dogs because it contains cocoa. And, one of the chemicals in cocoa is theobromine. Theobromine is a methylxanthine like caffeine.
Humans have enzymes that quickly break down theobromine, but dogs don’t. The theobromine lasts for a long time in dogs before being fully digested. Its half-life is 17.5 hours in dogs, but only 2-3 hours in humans.
Theobromine causes many symptoms in dogs, such as dehydration, vomiting, panting, pacing, high blood pressure, seizures, and sometimes death. These symptoms usually show within 6 to 12 hours after eating chocolate.
The amount of chocolate your dogs can eat without the risk of death depends mainly on two factors the type of chocolate & the size of your dog.
Sweeter chocolates contain less theobromine. The most dangerous types of chocolate for your dog are cocoa powder, unsweetened baker’s chocolate, and dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is still dangerous, but it contains less theobromine than other types of chocolate.
Levels of Theobromine Found in Various Foods
|Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, processed with alkali [Dutch cocoa]||1 cup (86g)||2266 mg||67.1mg|
|Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares||1 cup, grated (132g)||1712 mg||106mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened||1 cup (86g)||1769 mg||198mg|
|Baking chocolate, unsweetened, liquid||1 oz (28g)||447 mg||13.2mg|
|Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie, regular, dry mix||1 Package (40g)||238 mg||7.2mg|
|Desserts, rennin, chocolate, dry mix||1 Package, 2 oz (57g)||242 mg||7.4mg|
|Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie, instant, dry mix||1 Package, 1.4oz box (40g)||189 mg||5.6mg|
|Syrups, chocolate, HERSHEY’S Genuine Chocolate Flavored Lite Syrup||2 tbsp (35g)||68.3 mg||2.1mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, processed with alkali||1 oz (28g)||685 mg||20.2mg|
|Candies, chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids||I bar (101g)||810 mg||80.8mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, plain||1 Tbsp (5g)||92.6 mg||10.3mg|
“CAFFEINE & THEOBROMINE.” The Hershey Company. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
“Nutrition Information.” Nutrition Facts, Calories in Food, Labels, Nutritional Information and Analysis – NutritionData.com. Condé Nast, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate?
If your dog eats chocolate, even a small amount, you should call your vet.
Your vet will ask you questions, such as how much chocolate your dog consumed, what type of chocolate it was, and how much your dog weighs. Your vet might instruct you to induce vomiting in your dog or bring them to the hospital, depending on the amount they have consumed.
If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please, don’t wait for warning signs. These can take 6 to 12 hours to show up.
Symptoms from ingesting chocolate can include:
- Extreme thirst
- Too much energy
Always keep chocolate items away from dogs and never consider chocolate as a tasty treat or reward.