You’ve probably heard “Never give a dog chocolate!” at least once in your life. But why? Can dogs eat chocolate? What happens if they do? Do different types of chocolate have different effects? To protect your dog from serious health issues, DogFriendly has created this guide on why chocolate is dangerous for dogs, what to do if your dog eats chocolate, and how to help protect your furry friend in advance.
Is chocolate safe for dogs?
Chocolate is one of the most dangerous human foods a dog can eat and should be avoided by any means necessary. Feeding your dog chocolate is incredibly risky, as it can cause adverse reactions such as seizures, collapses, and even death depending on the amount eaten.
What makes chocolate toxic for dogs?
Chocolate contains two dangerous chemicals: theobromine and caffeine. Both of these chemicals increase your dog’s heart rate, relax their muscles, dilate their blood vessels, and cause them to expel more water (urine) from their body. Dogs are unable to process these chemicals in the way that humans can, which is why neither chemical is harmful to dog owners.
What do I do if my dog ate chocolate?
The risk of severe or fatal consequences of chocolate poisoning depends on several factors; how much chocolate was eaten, what type of chocolate was eaten, the size of your dog, and the time since it was eaten. Typically, chocolate poisoning takes place hours after the chocolate was ingested, and can last for days after, so it’s important to stay vigilant if you think your dog ate some chocolate.
Different types of chocolate have different levels of harmful chemicals, the most dangerous being cocoa powder and the least dangerous being white chocolate. If your dog ate white chocolate, they should most likely be fine, but it’s a good idea to contact your vet anyways.
If you know your dog ate dark or milk chocolate, the next step is finding out how much they ate. Larger dogs can tolerate large amounts of chocolate, but no amount is safe. A great way to determine if your dog is at risk is by using this chocolate toxicity calculator. By putting in your dog’s weight and the amount of chocolate they ate, this calculator is able to guide you on what to do next. Though, do not substitute this calculator for seeking veterinary advice.
If you are unable to speak with your vet, call the Animal Poison Control Center at 855-764-7661.
What does chocolate poisoning look like?
Depending on the amount of chocolate ingested, chocolate poisoning (or Chocolate Toxicosis) can look very differently for each dog. Mild chocolate poisoning can result in vomiting, diarrhea, excess urination, restlessness and hypertension. Severe chocolate poisoning can cause seizures, collapses, and death.
Chocolate is something that should be kept from dogs at all times. If you think your dog has eaten chocolate, the most important thing is to contact your vet immediately and get Fido the medical attention he may need.