Author: Luana Battaglia and Stefanie Stobbe | Read time: 4 min
Reality! Yes, chocolate is indeed toxic for dogs and can have disastrous consequences for their health or even put their lives at risk. Therefore, it should not be offered to them under any circumstances, even in small amounts.
Chocolate is very aromatic in its various forms for both humans and dogs. Due to dogs’ powerful sense of smell, there is a high chance that your pet will quickly discover your Valentine’s Day or Easter gifts and decide to steal them off the table or from
Why is chocolate toxic to dogs?
Chocolate contains two similar chemicals that cannot be well metabolized by dogs: theobromine and caffeine. This means that the stimulating effect of both of these substances is much more powerful and also lasts longer in the dog’s circulation compared to humans.
Caffeine can also be found in other sources such as coffee, teas, herbal remedies, diet pills and other stimulants, and these are therefore also toxic to dogs.
How much chocolate is necessary for making my dog sick?
What amount of chocolate causes poisoning depends on the type of chocolate and the quantity ingested. Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of theobromine and consequently, the more toxic it is for the dog. The animal’s weight also influences the calculation of the poisoning risk, e.g. 10g of dark chocolate are more dangerous to a 5 kg Yorkshire Terrier than to a 50 kg Great Dane.
Even though there are free chocolate toxicity calculators for dogs on the internet, we recommend that you immediately call your trusted veterinarian or an emergency service like ours at Tierarztpraxis Bärenwiese if you notice that your pet has eaten chocolate. That way, you will avoid miscalculations and receive the correct advice to prevent the animal from developing even the first symptoms.
It is worth mentioning that some animals may have problems not with the ingested amount of theobromine or caffeine, but with other components present in chocolate such as sugar and fats. These can, for example, cause pancreatitis or decompensate pre-existing diabetes.
Signs and symptoms
Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning usually occur within 6–12 hours of ingestion and can last for days depending on the amount consumed. The most common are:
- vomiting and diarrhea
- increased thirst and excessive urination
- restlessness and panting
- high heart rate
In severe cases, dogs can also have muscle tremors, seizures and heart failure.
Please do not wait for the signs to develop as the treatment will become more difficult once they are established!
How to treat chocolate poisoning?
The treatment for chocolate poisoning depends on different factors and consists of preventing further absorption and also recirculation of the toxic substances (present in the food). For this, the veterinarian usually uses specific drugs to induce vomiting and start oral therapy with activated charcoal, which may be necessary to be continued for a few more days.
In severe cases, hospitalization of the animal may be recommended for monitoring, intravenous fluid therapy and symptomatic treatment.
Intoxicated dogs usually recover well if they receive all necessary treatment as soon as possible.
Do you need more help? Contact us and schedule an appointment!