What Causes Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

January 13, 2023

If You Had to Google “Does Chocolate Kill Dogs” …

Then chances are that you are unfamiliar with chocolate poisoning in dogs and you’re here to learn more. Chocolate does contain a couple of things poisonous to dogs: caffeine and the more lethal compound known as theobromine. I know people feed their dogs chocolate with apparently no adverse effects. First, you shouldn’t compare your dog to others. Second, let me clear up the details of chocolate poisoning in dogs for you right now.

What Is Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs?

There are three things that matter when discussing chocolate toxicity in dogs. Your dog’s weight, what kind of chocolate it was, and how much of it your dog ate. Us humans quickly metabolize theobromine, while dogs find it very difficult. After ingestion, it takes theobromine about 10 hours to reach maximum saturation in your dog’s body. After that, it takes roughly 17.5 hours for your dog to metabolize half of it.

Symptoms your dogs will experience include upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea if the amount eaten is not excessive. Consuming a dangerous amount of chocolate will cause your dogs to have seizures, tremors, and elevated heart rates from the stimulant effect of theobromine. At this point, those symptoms will be too much for your dog’s body to handle before it can metabolize enough theobromine to counteract its effects.

Which Breed Are Most Susceptible to Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs?

Although the breed does play a part, the body mass of a dog matters the most in this case. Larger dogs can handle more theobromine as they have more body weight, effectively lowering the concentration in their blood. Medium-sized dogs are more susceptible to the same types and amount of chocolate compared to larger ones. Small dogs would have severe symptoms from the same types and amount of chocolate as their lower body weight means a higher theobromine concentration in their system.

At this point, I would change the question from “does chocolate kill dogs?” to “how much chocolate kills a small dog?” The answer is anything that contains around 1/3 cup of cocoa powder will likely be lethal to dogs that are roughly 15 lbs / 7 kg or less if they do not promptly receive treatments.

Touching back on caffeine, toxic consumption in small dogs is about 39 oz. of regular black coffee for small dogs at the 11-25 lbs. weight range. For large dogs at around 71-90 lbs. it rises to about 251 oz. The general caffeine toxicity rate for dogs is about 63 mg. per 1 lb. of dog weight. Although this is less of a concern than theobromine, you should always call your Vet when you suspect or realize that your dog consumed anything that contains caffeine.

It is good knowledge to be aware of these facts but let me assure you that it is best if you know your dog has eaten chocolate to take them to the vet right away. By the time your dog exhibits symptoms of lethal chocolate poisoning, they would already have high amounts of theobromine running throughout their body. The best way to treat chocolate poisoning in dogs is to receive professional counteractive treatments combined with measures that slow down or stop your dog from absorbing more theobromine. All of which are available at your local vet.

Don’t Try To Solve it, Go to the Vet!

The answer to the question “does chocolate kill dogs?” is a resounding yes. Even when multiple factors are at play, the same amount of chocolate a human child can happily eat in one sitting can be lethal to dogs. Owners of small dogs must be extra vigilant as they are most at risk. Children can hide chocolate during festive times, while adults can misplace them entirely. You are the most responsible place to start if you want your dog to avoid chocolate poisoning. Never forget that a chocolate bar lying around poses a grave threat since you most likely won’t be around to see your dog eating it.

It is not your job to diagnose the lethality of chocolate poisoning in dogs, so as soon as you think your dog ate chocolate, please take him or her to the vet. Do the calculations and educate yourself while your dog is safe at home eating tasty, healthy regular dog treats. For those who insist on giving their dogs chocolate, we suggest replacement treats made with corab as it does not contain caffeine or theobromine. There are so many other things a dog enjoys eating that is super healthy, dog safe and have no poisonous compounds.

Chew Test