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Dogs & Chocolate

Everyone knows that chocolate is dangerous to our dogs so lets talk about the dangers of chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine & caffeine which are the toxic ingredients which can harm our dogs. Caffeine has short term effects, but theobromine is the truly toxic ingredient.

Signs of chocolate poisoning for dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination and racing heart rate. Severe signs can be muscle tremors, seizures and heart failure.

So how much is toxic? The toxic doses of theobromine starts at 9mg per pound of your dog’s body weight for mild signs of toxicity. At 28mg of theobromine per pound of your dog’s body weight, severe toxicity happens.

As suspected, dark chocolate and bakers chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. A standard milk chocolate bar weighs 1.55 ounces. If we take the candy bar’s weight and multiply it by the amount of theobromine that is found in milk chocolate, we can find out exactly how toxic that chocolate bar is.

Milk Chocolate Candy Bar: 1.55 oz x 60mg = 93 mg of theobromine

Dark Chocolate Candy Bar: 1.55 oz x 230mg = 357 mg of theobromine

Bakers Chocolate: 1.55 oz x 450mg = 700 mg of theobromine

So, for a 30 pound dog, the milk chocolate bar would not cause toxicity, but the dark chocolate bar & bakers chocolate would be toxic.

Chocolate consumption can often be managed at home. There are, however, situations where it would be vital for you to take your dog to the vet.

  • If your dog eats a toxic dose and doesn’t vomit it back up

  • If your dog ate a large amount (or an unknown but potentially large amount) of bakers chocolate or 85% dark chocolate

  • If your dog shows the signs of chocolate toxicity: agitation, tremors, seizures, vomiting & diarrhea

It can take days to recover from theobromine toxicity, but hopefully, if it is caught quickly enough, dogs can recover.

To view or print out a copy of our handout with this information on it, click here

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