Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? – How Much Chocolate Can a Dog Eat
NONE, whatsoever! Sometimes people think that eating a little bit of chocolate cannot possibly hurt your dog. If it is a little bit of chocolate that fell on the ground while you were baking and the dog ate it and was fine, that does not mean that the dog will always be fine eating chocolate. Chocolate has caffeine and can be addictive for dogs. This means that when the dog gets a little bit of chocolate, he might be craving more and looking forward to the next chance he can get (not such a small amount of) chocolate.
Problems With Dogs and Chocolate
“Chocolate ingestions are one common reason why pet owners and veterinarians call us,” said Dana Farbman, Certified Veterinary Technician and Manager, Client and Professional Relations, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “However, it would be difficult to verify an exact ranking in frequency of calls, as the types of substances we receive calls on can vary greatly depending on many factors, including the time of year. We generally do experience somewhat of a rise in chocolate calls around holidays, such as Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. During the week of Halloween last year, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that ingested chocolate increased by 209% over a typical week at the animal poison control center. Despite increased awareness over the past few years, chocolate poisoning continues to pose a serious danger to dogs, especially at Halloween.
Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate
Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains certain properties that can be toxic to animals. 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 recognize that your dog has eaten a toxic dose of chocolate from the symptoms. Within the first few hours, the evidence includes vomiting, diarrhea 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 diarrhea. 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.