Can Chocolate Kill a Dog?

by iupilon
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Are you worried that your dog ate chocolate? Is there a dog that ate chocolate symptoms? What happens when a dog ate chocolate cake? And how long does it take for the chocolate to affect a dog?

Dogs and Chocolate

How much chocolate can kill a dog?

Chocolate is one of the things that you should be careful about when you are feeding your dogs because it can potentially poison your dog if it can consume enough of it to cause a reaction. As for the quantity that can harm your dog, it depends on the body weight of your canine.

White chocolate has the least amount of cocoa (the main ingredient of processed chocolate), but the consumption should not exceed 200 ounces per pound of the dog’s body weight. So if the dog only weighs ten pounds, any quantity above 2000 ounces can kill your dog.

For milk chocolate, a pound of milk chocolate can kill a 20-pound dog, and half a pound can poison a 10-pound dog. These are all estimates, and individual reactions to chocolate can vary per breed. While the quantities seem excessive, we have to take into account that the strength or potency of chocolates varies, depending on the chocolate maker or brand of chocolate. Higher quality chocolate will have more cocoa powder (derived from cocoa directly) and therefore, will be more poisonous for canines.

For sweetened cocoa powder and other products have the highest cocoa content of them all, and are therefore the most dangerous among known chocolate products. Only 0.3 pounds of sweetened cocoa powder per pound of the dog’s body weight can cause poisoning. Baking chocolate, which is used in pastries in cakes, has a slightly higher value – two ounces is sufficient to kill a 20-pound dog, and one ounce is enough to cause mortality in lighter dogs weighing at least 10 pounds. We realize that some pet owners simply cannot resist rewarding their dogs with sweets, including chocolate. You are at liberty to try, but there is a real danger that can cost your dog its life in the long term.

The compound in chocolate that is toxic to canines is called theobromine. Theobromine is beneficial to humans as a natural antioxidant, but dogs are not able to metabolize theobromine properly, and buildup of this compound in the dog’s body can cause poisoning. At the very least, a small quantity of chocolate can cause some upset stomach and perhaps an episode or two of vomiting. The story is different, of course, for smaller and lighter dogs that may have consumed more chocolate because no one is looking.  

What are the symptoms of possible chocolate poisoning?

Your dog may experience various symptoms during the onset of chocolate poisoning, including vomiting, diarrhea, suddenly collapsing, and death fits of seizure, fatigue, restlessness, and muscular tremors.

While these general symptoms may reflect other pre-existing conditions, it’s important to monitor your dog if your pet has eaten any amount of chocolate.

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Again, the quantities we discussed earlier are not hard rules, and a reaction may occur even with less chocolate. Like people, dogs are different, and while some dogs survive accidentally eating chocolate, many don’t, so you must always watch what your dog is eating.

What is the best thing to do when a dog consumes chocolate?

The first order of priority is to remove the source of the toxin from your dog’s body as quickly as possible. The most direct route to the expulsion of the chocolate is by making your dog throw up the chocolate.

1-2 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used every quarter of an hour until vomiting is induced. If you happen to have ipecac syrup at home, you may use just one teaspoon once, and that’s it. If vomiting does not occur, you may have no other recourse but to use 3% hydrogen peroxide.

After inducing vomiting, we need to chase after the toxins that may have been leftover in your dog’s stomach. One teaspoon of activated charcoal may be fed to a dog weighing no more than 25 pounds. If you have a heavier dog, add one teaspoon for every 25 pounds of weight. Products like Toxiban are perfect for this type of medical pet emergencies, so if you can acquire some now even before something has happened, do so.

Timing is crucial because we don’t want the dog to fully digest the chocolate as this will truly become a toxic situation. As the pet owner, you must be able to apply the designated first aid for chocolate consumption within four to six hours of the incident. The faster you can apply the first aid, the better.

How long does it take for the chocolate to affect a dog?

Take note that when poisoning does occur after the 4-6 hour window for the application of first aid, the symptoms (as well as the worst experiences associated with poisoning) can continue unabated for as long as 36 hours.

Keeping Your Dog Safe From Chocolate

As the pet owner, you are at the frontlines of keeping your dog/s safe from poisonous food. Chocolates must never be used as a reward for canines, no matter how much they seem to love it. Dogs don’t know this, and the flavors of chocolate can trick them into consuming a lot of chocolate at one time. All chocolate products from chocolate flavored biscuits to chocolate baking powder should be kept well away from pets.

Put them in a cupboard where they are out of sight. As many of you may know, dogs are a lot like small kids, and their curiosity usually gets the best of them. As long as they can reach for something smells good, they might take a nibble. Dog owners should also teach their dogs to drop anything in their mouth, so you can command your dog to let go of any chocolate product once you see your pet noshing on it.

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