Chocolates, no matter in what form, are heaven. It is almost everybody’s guilty pleasure and the sweetness and energy brought about by eating a chocolate bar is more than enough to make you happy for the entire day. A big portion of people enjoy chocolates, I bet that ¾ of the world’s population is in love with chocolates. But did you know that chocolates are harmful to another set of species? In this article on what does chocolate do to dogs given are the details of signs and symptoms after consumption and how to effectively nurse the pet back to health.
Yes, believe it or not, a chocolate is harmful to dogs. You might now question what does chocolate do to dogs and how much chocolate is bad for dogs; rest assured that we will tackle every concern that you have regarding dogs and chocolates in this article.
Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?
The question, ‘Is chocolate bad for dogs?’ is quite mainstream on the internet. You type that question and many will pop out. The answer to that mainstream question is a resounding yes.
As I said earlier, and in very unfortunate circumstances, chocolate is generally not a good food for your pet dog considering that it contains ingredients that are not great for your pet. These ingredients will harm your dog and cause them to get sick. Hence, it is best that you let your dog stay away from chocolates.
What Does Chocolate Do To Dogs?
Chocolate contains a substance called methylxanthines (caffeien and theobromine to be specific). Dogs are quite sensitive to this compund than human beings are. Methylxanthine is a stimulant that inhibits the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase. This enzyme is the one responsible in breaking down another substance called cyclic adenosine monophosphate which is responsible in the regulation of certain metabolic processes.
Generally, it is the theobromine that affects the dog greatly. Though the amounts of this substance differ from one chocolate to another, the fact that it is poisonous to dogs matter. Most often, large amounts of theobromine is found in dark chocolates and less amount are found in other forms of chocolates.
This substance mainly affects your dog’s heart, kidneys and his central nervous system. With such effect, you might see symptoms occurring between 4-24 hours from the time of ingestion. The time will differ base on the amount of chocolate your dog was able to eat.
If the chocolate ingested has a low level of theobromine, it will result to chocolate intoxication which will lead your dog to vomit, have loose stools (diarrhea), or even hyper-excitability. But with large doses of chocolate with a large amount of theobromine, the central nervous system will be greatly affected. It will result to nervous system dysfunction that is considered as very dangerous to your pet dog. Signs and symptoms of a nervous system dysfunction include irregular heart rhythms and seizures which can lead to death if not treated at the soonest possible time. Some dogs who have ingested chocolate may also develop pancreatitis due to the high fat and sugar contents found in chocolate products.
The substance that affects your dog’s body stays inside his body for a long time. Sometimes, it can even last for 72 hours in the most severe cases. Hence, the very reason why immediate treatment should be made is to prevent further complications and problems.
How Much Chocolate Is Bad For Dogs?
Truth be told, even the slightest amount of chocolate is already considered bad for your dog. A small pinch of chocolate from a chocolate bar will make your dog feel ill because no amount of chocolate is safe for your dog to eat. However, in most cases, your dog’s weight should also be taken into consideration before actually saying that a certain amount of chocolate is bad for your pet.
For example, if a 50 lbs dog will eat a small portion of chocolate, it does not really cause a major serious problem considering of how big he is. But if he will indulge on a bigger amount of chocolate, say a whole chocolate cake, then it will definitely cause some problems to him and will lead him to an upset stomach which will in turn cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Another thing to consider is your dog’s age. If your dog is already old, then his body systems and functions are not as great as it were when he was young. Hence, an old dog will generally have a slower metabolism than a younger one, and this will make an older dog prone to chocolate intoxication.
As I have said earlier, chocolates do not have the same amount of theobromine and each differs on the effects they have to your canine. However, the safest of the chocolates that they can eat should be no other than a white chocolate because this contains the very least amount of theobromine: 1 mg per ounce.
To further check on the kinds of chocolate, amount that can cause your dog to feel ill, as well as the weight of your dog, here is a list so that you can check for you to understand it better:
- White chocolate contains the very least amount of theobromine. Your dog can eat 200 ounces of white chocolate for each pound of his body weight. For a dog weighing 20 pounds, a 250 ounces of white chocolate will start the signs and symptoms of chocolate poisoning, while it takes 125 ounces of white chocolate for a 10 pounds dog.
- Milk chocolate is one of the best tasting chocolate for humans. However, it is not generally so when it comes to dogs. It contains 44-46mg of theobromine/ounce of chocolate. If you want to feed your dog with a milk chocolate, you can do so but ensure that you only feed one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight. On an average, one milk chocolate bar consist of 2-3 ounces of milk chocolate, hence, it will only take 2-3 bars of chocolate to poison your 10 pound dog.
- Semi-sweet chocolate differs from one source to another. Some sources say that it is the same as milk chocolate; while other source say that it will only take 0.13 ounces per pound of chocolate to poison your dog. They contain 150-160mg of theobromine.
- Unsweetened or baking chocolate contains 390-450mg of theobromine. 1/9 of an ounce per pound of body weight is already considered toxic for your dog. A two one-ounce squares of this unsweetened chocolate is already toxic for a dog who weighs 20 pounds.
- Cocoa powder is also toxic to your dog. 1/3 of a pound of cocoa is already toxic to a dog weighing 20 pounds, while it only takes 1/6 pound of the same cocoa to be toxic to a 10 pound dog.
What To Do After Chocolate Ingestion?
So okay, no matter how hard you try to hide that chocolate bar or that chocolate chip cookie (whatever food that contains chocolate can be toxic to them), there will really come a time when your dog accidentally eats the forbidden. Since you already know that chocolate is a bad food for your dog, you will definitely be alarmed and nervous at the same time. You will call your dog’s veterinary, but what if he is not around? Or the phone just keeps on ringing and no one is answering? Remember that every seconds count considering that we are dealing with intoxication and poisoning here. What will you do then?
Each pet owner, regardless of what pet you are taking care of, should be prepared for any forms of food and substance poisoning. It is of relative importance that you should know how to administer the proper first aid treatment to your pets considering that it is between life and death situation, and help is not yet around the corner.
First, you need to prepare yourself and get acquainted with the things that you need to do. Education is always the key to do things right, and it is best if you are educated and knowledgeable of poisoning stuffs.
You need to have the basic remedies in your dog’s medicine kit so that you can use them anytime you need to. Ensure that the kit has the proper essentials needed for things such as pain and poisoning. Now, let’s see what we can do to help our dog with chocolate ingestion.
- Remove the chocolate away from the dog before he consumes more of it. If you can see that the dog is still eating and munching on a chocolate bar, or anything with a chocolate in it, take the food away immediately. This is to ensure that the chocolate in his body will not accumulate and increase in ounces.
- Induce vomiting to your pet dog to remove the chocolate that is already inside his stomach. It is best to induce vomiting at the soonest possible time because if too much time passes, the substance theobromine has already circulated into your dog’s system and might have already damaged his gastrointestinal tract. You may use 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Give 1-2 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide by mouth every 15 minutes or so until your dog vomits what he has eaten. If 3% hydrogen peroxide is not available, you may opt to use the syrup of Ipecac which you can give for 2-3 teaspoons only once. Usually, many people are using the syrup of Ipecac because it is not expensive and can be bought in any pharmacy. It can also be stored at a room temperature storage which will make it last for years.
- Once you have already induced vomiting and the dog has vomited what he has eaten, the next step will be to administer an activated charcoal mixed with water via his mouth. The dosage for the activated charcoal is 1 teaspoon for those who are less than 25 lbs and 2 teaspoons who weigh greater than 25 lbs.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
A common charcoal is made of wood, coal, peat, coconut shell, or petroleum. Activated charcoal, however, is made to serve as a medicine. It is a charcoal in a fine powder form. It is made by heating common charcoal in the presence of gas which causes it to develop ‘pores.’ These pores are the ones that trap harmful chemicals and prevent it from being absorbed by the body.
Activated charcoal is usually the first remedy for many types of poison. They bind many poisons, which keep them away from being absorbed by the bloodstream.
If an activated charcoal is not present, some people make use of a burnt toast as a substitute. But the veterinarians from the Tueskegee University are teaching their students that a burnt toast is not at all effective in treating poisons.
Now that we have already discussed what you need to know all about chocolate poisoning in dogs, we hope that you are now well-prepared to deal with the situation should ever it arise. It is important to know the age and weight of your dog, as well as the type, amount and time that the chocolate was eaten. Knowing these certain information will help you deal with the problem easily.
When you did not see that your dog ate the chocolate, but, you can already see the signs and symptoms of chocolate poisoning, seek treatment immediately. Once your dog is having a seizure or is already in comatose, you need to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Dogs are considered as a man’s best friend, and it is very important that we look after their own safety because it is only us who can help our dogs in times of emergency situations. Once you are well-equipped with the things you need to do, it is a guarantee that you will be able to take care of your dog and save him during life threatening events. Once you do, you are considered as a great dog owner because you are able to save the life of your beloved canine friend which some pet owners failed to do. After reading this article you definately know what does chocolate do to dogs so please dont give them any.