Chocolate can kill your dog…trust me I know! About 17 years ago we lost our Pomeranian when our 3 year old son at the time thought his puppy would like some M & M’s.
The toxic dose will vary from dog to dog, depending on a number of factors such as the weight of the dog and his or her metabolism level. The problem with chocolate is that it contains a substance known as theobromine, and this substance is toxic to dogs. This substance is part of the xanthnine compound, the same family that contains caffeine and theophylline.
The good news is that it generally takes quite a substantial amount of chocolate to do the dog any harm. In general the toxic level of theobromine is between 100 and 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. It is important, of course to keep in mind that dogs will vary in their sensitivity to the compound, so it is still important to keep any and all chocolate in the house out of your dogs reach.
So how much does it take to show toxic effects in the typical dog. Listed below are some common types of chocolate, and the average toxic dose. Dogs that consume this much should be immediately taken to a veterinarian for evaluation.
The average toxic dose of white chocolate is 200 ounces per pound of body weight. This means it would take approximately 250 pounds of white chocolate to cause clinical signs of poisoning for a 20 pound dog, and 125 pounds for a 10 pound dog. Luckily, few if any dogs will be able to consume this much.
The toxic dose of milk chocolate is quite a bit lower, since milk chocolate contains a lot more of the troublesome chemical. The average toxic dose of milk chocolate is just one ounce per pound of body weight, meaning that a 10 pound dog may show clinical signs of poisoning after eating just 10 ounces. So if your dog just scarfed down that six pack of candy bars a trip to the vet may be in order. The toxic level of semi-sweet chocolate is similar to that of milk chocolate, so these treats should definitely be kept out of reach.
Sweet cocoa can be even more dangerous to man’s best friend, with a toxicity level of just 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight. That means it can take just a third of a pound to cause toxic effects to a 20 pound dog, and just half that for a 10 pound canine.
Baking chocolate is the most dangerous of all, with a toxic level of a mere 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight. The dog that gets into the baking chocolate should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, since toxic effects can occur at just one ounce for a 10 pound dog.
Those pet owners concerned that their dog has swallowed a toxic amount of chocolate should be on the lookout for the clinical signs of chocolate toxicity. It is important to carefully monitor the dog, since it can be difficult to determine how much chocolate was consumed.
The clinical signs dog owners should watch for include:
Increase in heart rate
It is also important for dog owners to have an emergency kit on hand, and to make sure that the emergency kit contains Peroxide. Get your dog to drink some of the peroxide & it will cause your dog to throw-up, making it an essential part of any pet emergency kit.
Those pet owners who suspect that their dog has eaten a toxic amount should be on the lookout for any of the clinical signs shown above, and if poisoning is suspected the vet should be contacted immediately. Only a veterinarian can determine the best course of action in the event of chocolate toxicity.
Before contacting the vet it is important to gather as much information as possible, including the type of chocolate consumed, the suspected amount and how much time has passed since ingestion. This information will help the vet determine the best type of treatment.