Most people are in the habit of sharing food with their pets. While it’s okay to share food with your dog, some human foods can be downright toxic to your doggy. So can dogs eat chocolate?

While it is enjoyed by humans, chocolate is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning. Although you shouldn’t offer any amount of chocolate, a large quantity of chocolate needs to be consumed for it to be lethal. The toxicity of chocolate also varies, with the most toxic being dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate. Chocolates such as milk and white chocolate pose a much less serious risk when consumed by dogs. 

What makes chocolate toxic to dogs?

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and depending on the amount and the type of chocolate consumed, it could put your pooch in grave danger. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans. The beans contain caffeine and a chemical compound known as theobromine. Both caffeine and theobromine can cause serious problems to your dog’s health. Theobromine, however, is the real danger.

Human bodies can metabolize theobromine quickly into something harmless. Dogs, however, break down theobromine much more slowly. While the rush we get after eating chocolate lasts for about thirty minutes, the sensation is much more intense in dogs and lasts for hours. After 17 hours, a dog will only have metabolized half of the theobromine ingested. 

Theobromine isn’t only toxic to dogs. Cats can also suffer from theobromine poisoning. However, cases of theobromine poisoning in cats are very low. This is because cats are very picky eaters and will rarely eat chocolate. Dogs, on the other hand, will eat just about anything. This puts them at very high risk of theobromine poisoning. As such it is best not to leave anything with chocolate lying around, lest your dog consumes it. 

Small amounts of chocolate are enough to cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting in dogs. Toxic amounts of chocolate can induce tremors, rapid heart rate, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, respiratory failure, seizures, and cardiac arrest.  

How much chocolate is poisonous to dogs?

The toxicity of chocolate depends on the amount consumed and the amount of theobromine it contains. The more theobromine the chocolate has the more toxic it is to your dog. Baker’s chocolate contains high levels of theobromine per ounce. It has close to ten times the amount of theobromine present in milk chocolate and twice the amount of theobromine present in semi-sweet chocolate. White chocolate has very low levels of theobromine. 

The toxicity of theobromine also depends on the weight of the dog. For milk chocolate to be lethal, for instance, an ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight should be consumed. 

The real danger, however, is with dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate. Less than 115 milligrams per kilogram of body weight is enough to kill your dog. As little as 100 milligrams of dark chocolate per kilogram of body weight is enough to offset serious toxic reactions.  

What to do after your dog eats chocolate

Most dogs tend to develop gastrointestinal complications after consuming a potentially toxic amount of chocolate. Typically, they will start vomiting and develop diarrhea, to try and get rid of the theobromine in the system. 

However, if your dog is not vomiting on its own, it is recommended that you induce vomiting immediately. This will prevent as little theobromine as possible from entering your dog’s system. To induce vomiting, you could use a one to one solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. This method, however, puts your dog at risk of developing esophageal ulcers. The best alternative is to use ipecac syrup, which is usually used on kids, to induce vomiting. 

If your dog starts to show signs of agitation and hyperactivity, you should rush him to the vet as soon as possible. While there is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning, ensuring that your dog has fluids as well as giving him intravenous drugs will help minimize the seizures and protect the heart. The symptoms of theobromine poisoning usually occur within 4-24 hours of consumption. 

Can dogs eat chocolate cookies

No, you shouldn’t feed your dog chocolate cookies. The main ingredients of chocolate cookies, including chocolate, sugar, and wheat flour are no good for dogs. Chocolate, in particular, is toxic, and can cause severe symptoms of theobromine poisoning, and even death. If your dog eats chocolate cookies, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. 

Can dogs eat chocolate cereal

Most types of cereal are safe for dogs to eat. That said, they should only be offered as occasional treats since they are of no nutritional benefit. Chocolate cereal, on the other hand, should be avoided since it contains chocolate and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which are toxic to dogs. 

Can dogs eat chocolate chips

Even the tiniest pieces of chocolate shouldn’t be offered to dogs. While one chocolate chip won’t hurt your dog, eating lots of it could kill him. 

Also check out;

Can dogs eat blueberries?

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