We’ve all heard that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, but how bad is it really? Chocolate poisoning is a common problem in dogs, especially around Easter when dogs have temptation of smelling out the eggs in shopping bags and Easter egg hunts!
Chocolate contains a component called theobromine which can be processed easily by humans, dogs unfortunately cannot process it as easily and therefore toxicity levels rise quickly in their systems.
What is theobromine?
The toxicity depends on how much is consumed, and the size of your dog. Different types of chocolate have different levels of theobromine.
- Cocoa, cooking chocolate & dark chocolate have the highest theobromine levels.
- Milk chocolate & white chocolate have the lowest theobromine levels.
A lethal dose of theobromine is 80-200mg/kg, cooking or baking chocolate has 14.1mg/gram of theobromine, dark chocolate has 5.3mg/gram, milk chocolate has 1.4mg/gram, and white chocolate has very little real chocolate in it.*
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs?
Large amounts of the theobromine can cause vomiting, increased urination, diarrhoea, muscle tremors, seizures, irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding and even heart attack. The onset of the poisoning is marked by severe hyperactivity.
What to do if your dog has consumed chocolate?
If your dog has consumed even a small amount of chocolate, contact your vet immediately. Vets will usually treat the poisoning by inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal, and then hospitalisation for monitoring.