Why Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

Chocolate is a preferred snack or dessert for many people, but it is bad for dogs. You may not think this food can have negative effects on your pet, but you should know that it contains a toxic substance that can be fatal in canines. White chocolate is not that dangerous for dogs.

Why Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

There are a few people that may be allergic to chocolate or cocoa, but a lot of people enjoy a bite of chocolate every so often. If you enjoy chocolate you may want to share it with your dog, but you need to know that chocolate is bad for your pet. Giving your dog just a few bites of chocolate can have fatal consequences.

Chocolate is toxic for dogs because it contains theobromine, a substance that belongs to the group of methylxanines. Depending on the type of chocolate and the manufacturer, the amounts of theobromine will differ. However, dark chocolate is the most toxic for dogs, while white chocolate is relatively safe. Another reason why chocolate may be bad for dogs is that some chocolates contain caffeine, which is another toxic substance for dogs.

How Much Chocolate Is Toxic?

Any bit of chocolate your dog gets may cause poisoning. The amount of chocolate your dog eats that is not fatal will depend on several factors:

  • The size of the dog; smaller dogs may die even from ingesting reduced amounts of chocolate
  • The amount of theobromine in the chocolate
  • The amount of caffeine
  • The strength of the immune system of the dog

Generally speaking, a dose of 50 to 100 mg or theobromine per body weight may be fatal. However, some dogs may die from even less than that. The bottom line is that chocolate is toxic and shouldn't be given in any amount. Even if the dog does not die after eating a bite of chocolate, it can still cause a lot of complications and you will need to visit the vet to remove the toxic substances from his body.

Chocolate Poisoning Signs

Even if you don't feed chocolate to your pet, he may accidentally eat some if he stumbles across it in the home. You should be aware of the signs of chocolate poisoning. Watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Frequent vomiting; you may see bits of undigested chocolate in the vomit
  • Extreme agitation
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Seizures
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pale gums
  • Irregular pulse
  • Unconsciousness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Sudden collapse
  • Coma

These symptoms will typically appear within a few hours after eating the chocolate and you need to get instant help.

If you visit the vet within four hours of the ingestion of the chocolate, the toxins may not enter the dog's blood flow and the condition may be reversible. The vet will remove the contents of the dog's stomach and put him under liquid therapy.