Here are few links that will take rushed doggy lovers straight to the interest point:
Why is chocolate bad for dogs?
Signs that your dog ate chocolate
How much chocolate is lethal for dogs?
Can dogs have white chocolate instead?
Can dogs eat cakes?
Can dog puppies have peanut butter?
As a careful dog owner, you may wondered what happens if your dog eats chocolate. Unfortunately, there is no straight answer for this curiosity and we should firstly understand that Chocolate is considered poisonous for dogs, specially if large amounts are ingested.
For sure we all know and have seen at least once that cute begging dog face. That’s the look your buddy throws when it notices you enjoying some food. Or perhaps we can call it a technique? Well, no matter how cute is that look you should never fall for it when it comes to some particular foods or categories.
Just because something is safe for us to consume, it doesn’t mean our dogs can safely ingest the same foodstuff. Actually, some substances and ingredients in our food are dangerous for the quadruped buddies.
While sharing your food with your dog may seem like a loving gesture, it may end up costing your dog’s health, and even its life in some unfortunate cases.
Why is chocolate bad for dogs ?
Chocolate is one of the toxic foods that can endanger your dog’s health due to its chemical ingredients Theobromine, and Caffeine. These two are both part of a chemical group called Methylxanthines. These are known for their toxicity at high concentration when act as stimulants, affecting the heart rate, airways and causing cardiac arrhythmias.
While many other foods can be considered unsafe, Chocolate is usually placed at the top of the list. The truth is the dose makes the poison because dogs can’t process and metabolize these two chemicals as we do, specially the Theobromine.
If you don’t know the type of Chocolate and the amount ingested we advise you to contact a vet because the chemicals could remain in their bloodstream. This would require taking in liquids through an IV (Intravenous infusion) and then your dog need to be walked frequently.
The poisoning symptoms depend on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. The impact on their health includes increased heart rate, vomiting and diarrhea that causes dehydration which can lead to acute kidney failure. In severe and isolated cases, symptoms can include muscle tremors, seizures, and even heart failure. So yes, even these cases are hardly ever found, the Chocolate can kill a dog.
Dog ate chocolate symptoms
Just like any other poisoning cases, the symptoms mainly depend on what have been ingested and the amount. The chocolate poisoning symptoms most dogs experience are:
- throwing up
- being thirsty more than usual
- inability to relax
- frequent urination
- and increased heart rate.
Those are the most common symptoms but the things could get worse if a small sized dog ingests a big amount of chocolate.
If your dog ate chocolate but is not experiencing any kind of symptoms, that means the ingested amount is not that harmful or the symptoms haven’t started yet. A dog could eat chocolate and seem fine for hours before you notice anything is wrong. The chocolate poisoning symptoms in dogs usually occur between 4 and 24 hours after ingestion. While it will take hours before you may notice anything wrong, the effects could last for days.
But how much chocolate can kill a dog?
While rarely fatal, chocolate ingestion can have significant impact on your dog’s wellbeing. The risk here and toxicity level depends on several factors such as the type and dose of Chocolate (Cocoa) ingested, dog’s weight and overall health condition. The type of consumed Chocolate is important because different sorts contain different amounts of Caffeine and Theobromine.
Darker and purer varieties of chocolate tend to have the highest levels of theobromine. For example white chocolate contains only trace amounts of Theobromine and little if any caffeine since is made of Cocoa butter. On the other hand, 50 grams of dark chocolate contains 250 milligrams of Theobromine and 19 milligrams of caffeine.
As a rule, toxic effects in dogs occur at Theobromine doses of 20 milligrams per kilogram of weight. Severe signs are noticed at 40-50 mg/kg and seizures at 60 mg/kg.
For example, 500 gram bar of dark or 170 grams of baking chocolate (equivalent of 3000mg of theobromine) could be lethal for a 30kg weighing Labrador.
So, if your dog ate chocolate it is a good idea to keep an eye on it and always be prepared to call for a vet or take it to the pet emergency room.
Is white chocolate bad for dogs too?
White chocolate that is made of Cocoa butter usually contains slightly to none amount of Theobromine. In this regard white chocolate is highly unlikely to poison a dog. However, there are some varieties of white chocolate which contains up to 35% Cocoa solids, or cocoa powder and implicitly Theobromine.
Even if white chocolate does not contain toxic chemicals for dogs, it is high in fat and sugar. This can cause similar symptoms to chocolate poisoning (like vomiting and diarrhea) if eaten in large enough quantities. Anyhow, the high-fat content puts your dog at risk for pancreatitis and, in extreme cases, it may lead to serious illness.
While white chocolate seems safe, we advise you not to let your dog eats white chocolate as well. Actually it should not have any kind of Chocolate at all.
Can dogs eat cake?
As a mindful dog owner and animal lover you may wondered if dogs can eat Cheesecake, Brownies, or other sweets. Then you should know something first about this type of foods.
If your dog ate brownies or other type of Chocolate cakes that contains Cocoa we advise you to keep an eye on it. The main ingredients in brownies and other similar cakes are harmful for dogs, including chocolate, sugar, wheat flour and other dairy ingredients.
All sweets and pastry products usually contains large quantities of sugar and fats that could severely affect your dog’s delicate digestive system.
You should pay special attention on raisin cheesecakes or other foods that contains raisin. While it is still a wonder for scientists what exactly in raisins is toxic for dogs, we know they can cause kidney failure.
Chocolate and raisins are just some of the banned products that you should keep your dog away from. There are plenty other chemicals found in our food that could harm your dog’s health.
You might be also wondering: can dogs eat guava, bananas, apples, grapes, berries or others? You might be surprised to find out some fruits are safe for dog’s health while others may harm its wellbeing or even become life threatening.
Can dog puppies have peanut butter, fruits or others?
Firstly you should know that peanut butter is safe for dogs and many of them even enjoy it. The potential risk here arises on the peanut butter varieties and other food types that contains Xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that is often used in foods to keep the product sugar-free. While it is safe for us to consume, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), lethargy, seizures, liver failure or even death in severe cases of small-sized dogs ingesting large amount of this chemical.
If you are raising a dog puppy you should know that same rules applies to them too. Furthermore if anything harms a mature dog, it will have a more intense effect on a puppy.
Hence you should keep your puppy away from the same products that are toxic for adult dogs. Among other banned products we can mention a few:
- Macadamia nuts. Never let dogs eat macadamia nuts because these are some of the most poisonous foods for them. Although the mechanism of toxicity is not exactly known, dogs can develop weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia, tremors, hyperthermia and lethargy.
- Chocolate. The effects of Chocolate ingestion in dogs are presented above. The chemical compounds in these products makes it toxic for dogs.
- Garlic, onion, leeks and chives. These are part the Allium family, being five times more toxic to dogs than the rest of the Allium plants. Poisoning from these specific plants can cause pale gums, increased heart rate, weakness, and collapse.
- Avocado. If you ever wondered if dogs can eat avocado, know you know the short answer is no. While avocado is considered healthy food for us, it should not be eaten by dogs, specially in large amounts. The avocado fruit, pits, leaves, and the actual plant contain persin, which is a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal blockage and serious complications.
- Grapes and raisins. Even though is not exactly known the toxicity mechanism of grapes and raisins on dogs, they are considered potentially poisoning. Ingesting these can make your dog lethargic and dehydrated, causing vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, unusual breathing or even renal failure.
When it comes to any type of poisoning, the dog size and weight are important. The larger the breed, the increased tolerance and hence less chances of poisoning complications. For example a Labrador or Shepherd tend to have much greater tolerance to the same amount of toxic compounds than a small breed like a Pomeranian or Yorkie has. In any case, if you suspect your dog for eating something potentially toxic, induce vomiting might be a good move for the moment, before the chemicals are fully absorbed.
In conclusion, we recommend feeding dogs with special food intended for them and if there is uncertainty concerning your dog’s diet, always ask the veterinary nutritionist. In case you ever notice some unusual symptoms on your quadruped buddy, keep an eye on it and observe the symptoms evolution. If these are getting serious you should call your veterinarian or take it to the pet emergency room.