Why Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?

‘Fussy eater’ is one phrase that doesn’t immediately spring to mind when it comes to dogs! In fact, most are well known for their happiness to chow down on whatever they can find – whether it is supposed to be eaten or not!

As owners, it can be extremely tempting to just share a little of what we are having, or to pile any leftovers onto our pet’s plate. However, they are not human and as such, many human food and drink can actually be toxic to them. One of the most dangerous things that you can share with your furry friend is chocolate.

Why is chocolate so dangerous for dogs?

Chocolate naturally contains theobromine, which is a bitter-tasting stimulant. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amounts of theobromine it will probably contain.

While theobromine consumption is harmless in small doses for humans, it is extremely toxic for dogs. This is because it has a detrimental effect on the central nervous system, heart and kidneys. As humans, we can metabolize the theobromine quickly. However, the process is much slower for dogs, and the symptoms of theobromine poisoning can last for up to 72 hours.

Symptoms of chocolate/theobromine poisoning

Signs that your dog has eaten a dangerous amount of chocolate may start to appear as soon as 4 hours after consumption, and can include:

- Hyperactivity/increased excitability

- Increased heart rate

- Increased urination

- Irritability

- Muscle spasms

- Restlessness

- Seizures

- Vomiting and/or diarrhea

In cases where a very large amount of chocolate has been eaten, cardiac arrest and death may occur.

But, chocolate is ok as a treat, isn’t it?

The main problem with chocolate is that it is viewed as a treat, and so many people believe that a little now and again can’t do any harm. The truth is that even a small amount of chocolate can make your dog very unwell.

Most experts state that the toxic component of chocolate for dogs, theobromine, is extremely dangerous when 100-150mg per kilogram of weight of your dog is consumed.

What should I do if I suspect that my dog has eaten chocolate?

If you are concerned that your dog may have consumed chocolate, then you should seek veterinary assistance immediately. If you believe that the chocolate was eaten in the last two hours, then your vet may ask you to try and induce vomiting and will give you specific instructions to do this. Alternatively, your veterinarian may try and induce vomiting when your pet arrives at their office.

Your vet will have the knowledge and experience necessary to give your dog the best possible medical treatment after chocolate consumption