Everybody loves chocolate, but with all the chocolate around the house on Valentine’s Day, it can be fatal for your dog.
A naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, theobromine increases urination and affects the central nervous system as well as heart muscle. While amounts vary by type of chocolate, it’s the theobromine that is poisonous to dogs. Chocolate consumption by dogs can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.
You can recognise that your dog has eaten a toxic dose of chocolate from the symptoms. Within the first few hours, the evidence includes vomiting, diarrhoea or hyperactivity.
As time passes and there’s increased absorption of the toxic substance, you’ll see an increase in the dog’s heart rate, which can cause arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination or excessive panting.
Consequences of dogs eating chocolate
If a 50-pound dog eats a teaspoonful of milk chocolate, it’s not going to cause serious problems. However, if that same dog gorges himself on a two-layer chocolate cake, his stomach will feel more than upset and soon it’s likely he’ll be vomiting or experiencing diarrhoea. It is not that simple to answer the question of how much chocolate can dogs eat. The health and age of your dog must be considered. Obviously, if your dog is aged and not in top shape, his reaction to a plate of chocolate is going to be different than that of a young healthy dog of the same weight. Another fact that must be considered is this. Not all chocolate is the same. Some has a small amount of theobromine; another type has a large amount and still another contains an amount that is somewhere in between. The quantity has a relationship with the weight of your dog. Small dogs can be poisoned, it is easy to understand, from smaller amounts of theobromine than large dogs.
Symptoms and Types
• Increased body temperature
• Increased reflex responses
• Muscle rigidity
• Rapid breathing
• Increased heart rate
• Low blood pressure
• Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)
Milk Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as one pound of milk chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
Semi-Sweet Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
Baking Chocolate – This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine. Therefore, as little as two small one-ounce squares of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 20-pound dog (or 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight).
In the right quantities chocolate can become toxic for any dog. So be wary of feeding your pet anything that might contain chocolate and always keep it out of reach.
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, including a chemical blood profile, electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. These tests will help determine if there is a chocolate/caffeine overdose.
Blood can also be taken to test for theobromine concentrations, while an ECG is performed to help determine if the heart is showing any abnormalities in rhythm or conduction of heart beats.
(Article source: Bunk Blog and Pet MD)
Other foods poisonous to dogs
Onions, Garlic, Chives.
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal (stomach and gut) irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage.
Grapes & Raisins
The toxic substance that is contained within grapes and raisins is unknown; however these fruits can cause kidney failure.
A substance called Persin that is contained in the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
Within 12 hours of ingestion macadamia nuts can cause dogs to experience weakness, depression, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia (increased body temperature). These symptoms tend to last for approximately 12 to 48 hours.
And other foods poisonous to dogs include; alcohol, caffeine, corn on the cob, coconut, milk, apple seeds, mushrooms and raw fish.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested any of these items, please note the amount ingested and contact your vet as soon as possible.