Dogs can be too clever for their own good sometimes. Our faithful and furry friends have mastered the art of sampling our snacks the moment we look away or take a bathroom break. So, what is your dog ate dark chocolate? Is that really so unsafe?
Dark chocolate is potentially lethal for dogs and even small amounts may be deadly – it all depends on your dog’s weight and how much they’ve eaten. If your dog has ingested dark chocolate, then you should get them to the vet immediately. It could well save your dog’s life.
Many dog owners know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but not how serious it can be, so today we’re going to give you vital information such as amounts based on body weight which are toxic, what the vet will do for treatment, and more – read on for the vital information you need to know about chocolate and your dog!
Table of Contents
Why is dark chocolate toxic for dogs?
Dark chocolate is toxic for both it’s caffeine content and a chemical called Theobromine, which is produced as a by-product of roasting cacao beans that produce the flavor of chocolate. Dark and semi-sweet chocolates have a high amount of this, unfortunately, and this means that you can’t leave your dark chocolate unattended.
Other chocolates will be more of less toxic, depending on their type and ultimately, their cacao content. For instance, white chocolate is the least harmful, as it rarely has any actual cacao at all, though the high sugar content and cocoa butter present can still give your dog diarrhea, vomiting, and a heck of a stomachache.
By contrast, baking chocolate is common in most households and even more toxic than dark chocolate. Milk chocolate, popular in the U.S., actually has a lower cacao content than dark chocolate, but it’s still very dangerous – the lesson here being that ALL chocolate really needs to be kept away from your dog. It’s simply too dangerous.
How much dark chocolate is dangerous for my dog?
Just.3 ounces per pound of your dog’s body weight all that it takes for dark chocolate to be life threatening. The Theobromine in these chocolates isn’t just bad for your dog on the ‘first go’, either, as it stays in their system.
Once your dog eats it, the Theobromine passed through the stomach and it ends up getting reabsorbed in the bladder! So this tiny amount seems innocuous, but the way that Theobromine acts in a doggie digestive system essentially magnifies the threat.
The risk is the highest for small dogs, but even large dogs shouldn’t be having any dark chocolate at all, so if your dog manages to get in to your dark chocolate when you’ve stepped away then you need to get them to your vet immediately.
This is not something that you can wait on and you’re going to need your vet’s help to flush the Theobromine from their system efficiently.
Is the foil wrapper of the chocolate dangerous too?
You won’t have to worry about the foil so much. Usually it’s not even real foil, but more of a plastic paper with a very minor metallic component if it isn’t all clever coloration.
Even if your dog does manage to eat a little real foil, in most cases it will pass through to their stool, though real foil could be potentially risky for smaller dogs.
That said, it’s a bit of a moot point as the chocolate is going to require a vet visit anyways – just make sure to mention if real foil was ingested as well so your vet can check for potential intestinal blockage.
What will the vet do for my dog?
Your vet is equipped with the kind of clinical firepower needed to get that chocolate out of your dog’s body safely. Treatment may be done in a number of different ways, but a few examples include flushing out your dog’s tummy with liquids or even pumping charcoal into their stomach to bind with the toxins.
The charcoal keeps that Theobromine from getting into their bloodstream and this is actually a common poison treatment used for humans, as well. Some vets may use a drug called Apomorphine instead, which help to empty your dog’s belly by inducing vomiting.
IV liquids will often be employed as well, to help ensure that your dog is hydrated and so that medicines may be easily introduced until your dog’s system has become free of the chocolate toxins.
Depending on the level of toxicity, treatment could be anywhere between $250 for light toxicity up to $3000 for dealing with potentially lethal doses. Chocolate is seriously dangerous to your dog’s health, so if you don’t hide it currently when you’re not eating it, then this is a good habit to get into. It’s deadly poison where dogs are concerned!
Call the ASPCA if you can’t reach your vet
If you are unable to reach your veterinarian then don’t panic. The ASPCA has a Poison control line that you can call and its toll free, so in a pinch you have someone to call if your vet is unexpectedly away.
The number for the ASPCA Poison control line is (888)426-4435 and they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They’ll be there and they can help.
In conclusion: Chocolate isn’t bad – it’s deadly
Chocolate is one of those funny foods that would poison most animals on the planet, but which humans eat regularly without a second thought. As you can see, all it takes is .3 ounces per every pound of your dog’s body weight to put them at risk for a coma or even death!
As such, it’s going to be vital to start hiding any chocolatey candy that you have in your home. If your dog ate chocolate, then don’t panic, but DO get them to the vet right away and if this is absolutely impossible, then call your vet or the ASPCA poison control line and they can help you.