Why Is Chocolate Harmful To Dogs

Theobromine, naproxen, and lidocaine cannot be adequately metabolized or broken down in dogs with a certain mutation in their CYP1A2 gene (the variant is 1117C>T). This could explain why some dogs become ill after ingesting only a small amount of chocolate and has crucial consequences for their medical care.

What should you do, then, if you think your dog may have consumed chocolate? You have several choices. To determine if your dog is likely to have symptoms, use an internet calculator like this one or contact animal poison control (1-888-426-4435 in Canada and the U.S.). You should keep a close eye on your dog regardless of what they say, checking for symptoms such a high heart rate, vomiting, or tremors, while keeping in mind that such resources are not a replacement for veterinary care.

You should take your dog to the vet immediately away if they consumed an unknown amount of chocolate, are displaying symptoms, are pregnant (theobromine can cross the placenta and impact the puppy), or have any other health issues. Veterinarian anti-chocolate remedies are most successful if administered as soon as possible after intake, even if symptoms may not appear for up to two hours after ingestion.

What precisely is done to treat theobromine poisoning in dogs? Decontamination of the stomach. Emptying the stomach is the first step (if the ingestion was recent enough). This frequently involves the use of the chemical apomorphine, which is injected into the eye to be swiftly absorbed.

A veterinarian will then give activated charcoal, a finely powdered substance that can bind a range of medications and chemicals. Because it turns your dog’s stool black, activated charcoal is typically given by combining it with wet dog food as soon as possible after ingesting the poison. Charcoal must occasionally be administered again, although it can also be effective with just one dose.

A theobromine-intoxicated dog will only receive medication to treat their specific symptoms after these steps, such as Diazepam for seizures or hyperexcitability, beta blockers for a fast heart rate, atropine for a low heart rate, or other medications.

It turns out that cats are more prone to theobromine poisoning than dogs, despite the fact that we never hear of a cat becoming ill after eating chocolate. How come?

primarily because dogs tend to eat more recklessly than cats do. While cats tend to be fussy eaters, dogs are infamous for eating almost anything they can get their hands on, even joint butts, which puts them at risk for cannabis toxicity. This can be partially explained by the fact that cats cannot taste glucose.

You probably wouldn’t eat much of it if all chocolate tasted like 100% dark chocolate.

Takeaway message

  • Theobromine, which dogs cannot adequately metabolize, is the main reason why chocolate is deadly to dogs.
  • With respect to weight, a dog’s ability to consume chocolate without developing symptoms varies significantly.
  • If your dog consumes chocolate, you should keep a close eye on them and take them to the vet if they exhibit any symptoms, are very young, pregnant, or have other health issues.

Special thanks to Henry, who, as you may assume, inspired this paper by eating chocolate, and Rachel Malkani, a veterinary PhD candidate and MSc. CDBC.

What occurs if a dog consumes chocolate?

Yes, dogs are poisoned by chocolate. Although seldom fatal, eating chocolate can cause serious disease. Theobromine, a substance found in chocolate together with caffeine, makes it poisonous. The major poison in chocolate, theobromine is extremely similar to caffeine. Both substances have medical uses as a smooth muscle relaxant, blood vessel dilater, diuretic, and stimulant of the heart. Theobromine and caffeine are not metabolized by dogs as well as they are by humans. Dogs are therefore more susceptible to the impacts of the toxins.

How much chocolate is poisonoustoadog?

The type of chocolate affects how much theobromine is poisonous. The danger of chocolate to dogs increases with its darkness and bitterness. Gourmet dark chocolate and baking chocolate are extremely concentrated and have a theobromine content per ounce of 130–450 mg. Only 44–58 mg/ounce are present in typical milk chocolate. With approximately 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce, white chocolate rarely offers a risk of chocolate poisoning. Dogs can get sick from the chocolate’s fat and sugar even if the amount consumed is not toxic. In severe situations or in dogs with particularly sensitive stomachs, they can lead to pancreatitis. In order to put this into perspective, consider that a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would only have to consume 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or 9 ounces of milk chocolate in order to possibly exhibit poisoning symptoms. Small amounts of milk chocolate are generally not dangerous for dogs to consume.

What are the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning?

Clinical symptoms vary according to the type and amount of chocolate consumed. The most frequent clinical symptoms in many dogs include excessive urination, excessive panting, increased thirst, restlessness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Muscle tremors, convulsions, and heart failure are among the symptoms that might appear in severe cases. The prognosis for chocolate poisoning can go worse due to complications including aspiration pneumonia from vomiting. If in doubt, quick veterinary care is advised if a poisonous quantity of chocolate is consumed.

How much chocolate canine consumption?

According to the Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health, chocolate includes both theobromine and caffeine, both of which can raise a dog’s heart rate and excite their nervous system. Calculate your dog’s risk of toxicity using this simple application. The likelihood that your dog may get sick after eating chocolate depends on the type, quantity, and weight of the dog. Various forms of chocolate have different amounts of these harmful ingredients. Following are a few chocolate varieties, listed by theobromine content:

  • cocoa butter (most toxic)
  • Unsweetened chocolate for baking
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • a deep chocolate
  • chocolate milk

You and your veterinarian can decide whether you have an emergency by knowing how much and what sort of chocolate your dog consumed. A dog would typically have minor signs of chocolate toxicity at 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of body weight. Around 40 to 50 mg/kg of chocolate causes cardiac symptoms, while 60 mg/kg or more causes convulsions.

That translates into a pretty alarming dose of chocolate, which is roughly one ounce of milk chocolate for every pound of body weight. Even one Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar, which weighs 1.55 ounces on average, can have harmful effects, especially for little dogs. On the other side, your dog generally won’t die from eating a tiny piece of chocolate bar or a crumb of chocolate cake, especially if it is a larger breed. Nevertheless, chocolate should never be given as a treat.

How long before a dog is fine after consuming chocolate?

Dogs are particularly susceptible to the effects of theobromine because they do not absorb it in the same way that humans do. Theobromine is derived from cocoa beans, so as a general rule, the more cocoa solids there are in a chocolate product, the more theobromine there is.

Theobromine in chocolate is not the only danger for dogs, though. Chocolate has a lot of fat and sugar, which can lead to pancreatitis, which can be fatal if ignored.

Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs

Watch out for these symptoms if your dog has consumed any chocolate, even a small amount:

  • Agitation
  • unusual levels of hyperactivity
  • an achy stomach region
  • nausea or diarrhea
  • more alcohol than normal

If your dog has consumed a lot of theobromine, the symptoms are more severe. These consist of:

  • a pounding heart
  • seizures, twitching, or tremors
  • severe diarrhea or vomiting
  • hastily panting
  • Feels cozy

What to do if you think your dog has eaten chocolate

If you think your dog may have eaten chocolate, be on the lookout for the signs listed above. Chocolate poisoning symptoms may emerge within an hour, but they often appear between six and twelve hours after consumption. If you are aware that your dog has consumed chocolate, take action right away rather than waiting for symptoms to show.

If you have any worries regarding the health of your dogs, we always advise that you consult a veterinarian. Take the next actions:

  • Find the packing if you can. This will reveal how much chocolate they’ve consumed as well as the type. Veterinarians can receive all of these facts.
  • Make use of PawSquad. Customers of Direct Line pet insurance will get round-the-clock access to a veterinarian through PawSquad via live chat or video chatting. You can use the service free of charge from the convenience of your own home and get immediate answers to your inquiries from a veterinarian.
  • Make a call to your veterinarian. Calling your veterinarian’s office is a good choice if you don’t have access to PawSquad. They’ll want to know what your dog ate, how much they ate, when they ate it, and if they have any symptoms so they can better advise you.
  • Observe advice. A veterinarian frequently requests to see your dog. It can be risky to wait around for symptoms to show. The greatest strategy for flushing out toxins is to do so as soon as possible.

How are dogs treated for chocolate poisoning?

A dog will typically be given medication by a veterinarian to induce vomiting after consuming chocolate. To absorb the remaining theobromine and lessen the amount of poisons that enter the bloodstream, activated charcoal may also be administered.

Your dog may spend the day or night at the vet so they may be watched as charcoal can be administered every four to six hours. Additionally, your dog can receive a drip to assist detoxify the body and stabilize fluid and blood circulation. Your dog’s heart rate may be treated with other medications if it is fast or abnormal.

If your dog is shaking or experiencing a seizure, it might be terrifying for the owner. A veterinarian can respond swiftly to treat any poisoning symptoms. Dogs who have consumed chocolate typically recover within a day or two with appropriate treatment.

How to prevent your dog stealing food

Even the most well-behaved dogs might become tempted by the aroma of something appetizing. Here are some useful ways to avoid your dog obtaining food meant for someone else:

  • Lock up your food. All food should be kept out of your pet’s reach, whether it be high up or behind a cabinet door. The majority of dogs have been trained to avoid kitchen counters, but they may be cunning when food is involved.
  • Bins should be locked. A dog won’t think twice about searching through your trash cans. Make sure no bins are accessible or easily knocked over in the house or garden. Pick a trash can with a tight-fitting lid if your pet is persistent.
  • Remind visitors. Not everyone who comes to your house will be accustomed to dogs. Without realizing it, they might leave food out for your dog to find or feed it with their hands, both of which could be dangerous to your pet.
  • Be very cautious around Easter and Christmas. Dogs can easily consume leftover wrapped or boxed chocolate, and a trip to the veterinarian around the holidays is the last thing anyone wants. Due to the increased risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs around Christmas and Easter, take extra precaution to store any edible items securely:

Unfortunately, dogs shouldn’t merely avoid foods that include chocolate. Giving our pets the same food we eat is not something we should do lightly. The following foods are potentially toxic:

Why are grapes inedible to dogs?

No matter what breed, age, or gender a dog is, grapes and raisins are extremely poisonous to them. Ongoing study is being done to determine why.

Kidney damage is associated with grape toxicity. The fruit can cause abrupt renal failure and possibly death if consumed.

Unknown toxin in grapes prevents dogs from metabolizing their tannins, flavonoids, and monosaccharides. This might be the main cause of canine grape toxicity.

widely available.

Raspberries Dogs can indeed consume raspberries. In moderation, raspberries are acceptable. They are great for dogs because they contain antioxidants. They are high in fiber, manganese, and vitamin C but low in sugar and calories. Raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit aging joints, making them particularly beneficial for senior dogs. Even so, your dog should only consume up to a cup of raspberries at a time because they do contain trace amounts of xylitol.

Strawberries Yes, strawberries are edible by dogs. Strawberry fiber and vitamin C content is high. Along with that, they also contain an enzyme that can help whiten your dog’s teeth as he or she eats them. They contain sugar, so be sure to give them in moderation.

Tomatoes No, dogs should avoid tomatoes. While the ripened fruit of the tomato plant is generally considered safe for dogs, the green parts of the plant contain a toxic substance called solanine. While a dog would need to eat a large amount of the tomato plant to make him or her sick, it’s better to skip tomatoes all together just to be safe.

Watermelon Yes, dogs can eat watermelon. It’s important to remove the rind and seeds first, as they can cause intestinal blockage, but watermelon flesh is otherwise safe for dogs. It’s full of vitamin A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium. Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’s a great way to help keep your dog hydrated on hot summer days. (You can even find watermelon-flavored dog treats these days.)