February 5, 2010

What happens if my dog ate too much chocolate?

can dogs eat chocolateThe notion that the consumption of any quantity of chocolate will kill your dog isn’t exactly accurate but it is true that chocolate can have serious health consequences for dogs. Obviously, humans only need to worry about extra inches on their hips when they eat chocolate but dogs are affected in a much more serious way. Not only is chocolate high in fat and sugar, which are not healthy for your dog in large quantities, there are two other substances in chocolate that have an impact on your dog’s health.

Caffeine and theobromine are two stimulants that are commonly found in chocolate. There is not enough caffeine or theobromine in chocolate to affect human behavior; but for dogs, these substances affect the central nervous system as well as the cardiovascular system. A small dose of chocolate will likely have little effect on your dog but if your pet consumes toxic levels of chocolate you will notice some serious side effects. Common symptoms of chocolate poisoning include restlessness, muscle twitching, increased urination, hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive panting.

Depending on the type of chocolate eaten and the size of your dog, different quantities of chocolate may or may not be toxic. White chocolate becomes toxic in dogs when 45 ounces per pound of body weight is consumed while severe toxicity comes about when 90 ounces per pound is consumed. As you can see, there is very little toxicity in white chocolate. Milk chocolate toxicity begins when your dog consumes 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight and severe toxicity at 2 ounces per pound. Semi-sweet and baking chocolate are the most toxic with symptoms occurring at 0.33 ounces and 0.1 ounces consumed per pound of body weight respectively. So, keep your cooking chocolate safely stored, where none of your pets can get access.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.