Chocolate Toxicity Calculator
If you believe your dog has eaten chocolate of any form, please call your veterinarian immediately. Please use this calculator as a guide.
How much chocolate is toxic to dogs?
Unaware of its toxicity, most pet parents consider chocolate as a delicious dog treat. As peculiar as it may sound, recent researches show that even dog parents that are aware of the toxic effects tend to frequently give their four legged mate a small amounts of chocolates.
Dogs can potentially be exposed to a variety of chocolate and cocoa products like cookies, cakes, candies, brownies, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and cocoa bean mulches.
It should be noted that most toxicity incidents occurs around holidays like Valentine’s day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. This is simply because, during holidays, chocolate is more prevalent in households, and dogs eating chocolate. Use our chocolate toxicity Calculator for dogs to figure out the toxicity level.
Can dogs eat chocolate – Why is chocolate toxic to pets
The theobromine’s effects are same for both humans and dogs. However, humans are capable of breaking down them quickly. On the flip side, dogs tend to metabolize the theobromine slowly, thus accenting its potentially toxicity effects.
It should be noted, that theobromine poisoning causes severe clinical signs and if left untreated it can lead to various medical complications that more often than not, end fatally.
My Dog ate Choclate – How much chocolate can a dog eat
Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of methylxanthines. Therefore, not all types of chocolate are equally toxic to dogs. For example:
- Milk chocolate – is toxic if ingested in amounts of 40 grams per kilogram of dog’s weight.
- Semi-sweet chocolate – is toxic if ingested in amounts of 17.0 grams per kilogram of dog’s weight.
- Dark chocolate – is toxic if ingested in amounts of 15.0 grams per kilogram of dog’s weight.
In a nutshell, the darker and more bitter, the greater toxicity it holds for dogs. This is due to the fact that unsweetened dark chocolate contain more theobromine. You can use this chocolate toxicity calculator to find out the toxic level, and watch out for symptoms to come.
The toxic dose of theobromine is as low as 20 mg/kg. At this point affected animals show agitation, hyperactivity and digestive disturbances (drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea). The cardiac signs (racing heart rate, arrhythmia, high blood pressure) begin to manifest when the ingested dose of theobromine is larger than 40 mg/kg. At doses higher than 60 mg/kg neurologic signs (twitching, seizures) develop. Doses around 200mg/kg are fatal.
It should be noted that if ingested in the right amount, any chocolate can be toxic for any dog, regardless of its body weight.
Can Dogs Eat White Chocolate
Compared to Milk chocolate or Dark chocolate, white chocolate is not that toxic, because amount of Theobromine (component – that is toxic to dogs and other pets) is low in white chocolate. Therefore you might not see any symptoms in your dog after eating white chocolate. We DO NOT RECOMMEND sharing any sweet with your dog, as they are high in fat. Simply there shouldn’t be any dog chocolates as they may be lethal.
What are the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning?
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning depend on several factors such as:
- Amount of ingested chocolate
- Type of ingested chocolate
- Dog’s weight
- Dog’s overall health status.
- Empty stomach or full.
The most common symptoms of a dog suffering from chocolate poisoning are:
- Excessive drooling
- Diarrhoea (with chocolate-like smell)
- Hyperthermia (increased body temperature)
- Increased thirst
- Pollakiuria (frequent urination)
- Tachypnea (rapid breathing)
- Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Neurological signs – twitches, tremors or seizures.
In cases of advanced intoxication, the dog may show signs like:
- Cardiac failure
How long does it take for Chocolate to Affect a Dog
Most likely you will see signs within 30 minutes, this would depend on how much chocolate your dog ate and what type of chocolate. However, because of the Theobromine’s long half-life, the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning may not become apparent immediately after the ingestion. In some cases, it may take up to 6 hours for the clinical picture to develop. What is more, due to the long half-life, once the clinical signs become apparent they can last for several days. In severe cases, they may persist for up to 72 hours. We have mentioned some symptoms you should look out for in our calculator above. The fact that the Theobromine may be re-absorbed from the bladder makes the clinical picture even more prolonged and the prognosis even more complicated.
First aid for chocolate poisoning in dogs
The first thing you need to do is determine what type of chocolate (White or Dark chocolate or Baking chocolate) and the amount. Call your vet ASAP to get his advice – You may use our this calculator as a guide. Depending on the type and amount of ingested chocolate, the veterinary surgeon will either recommend you to monitor the dog or to induce vomiting and rush to emergency vet centre. Bring your Pet insurance policy number as most of vet clinics would process claims behalf of you.
If you need to induce vomiting you can either use washing soda crystals or 3% hydrogen peroxide. Amount of hydrogen peroxide you need is depends on the weight of your dog.
When inducing vomiting you need to be extra careful.
- Only try to induce vomiting if the dog is alert.
- Do not induce vomiting if the dog shows signs of neurological problems, such as seizures. If a dog in this condition vomits, some of the vomit may enter its windpipe, causing aspiration pneumonia.
- Salt poisoning may occur if you use salt for vomit induction. Therefore, in spite of certain recommendations, salt should be avoided for such purposes.
You must talk to your Veterinarian ASAP, and follow vet’s instruction
When it comes to protecting our beloved canine babies, it is better to be safe than sorry. Dogs and chocolate does not go together. All choc products should be kept out of your dog’s reach. Since dogs are naturally curious and have a powerful sense of smell, hiding the chocolate products is simply not enough.
If your dog loves how cocoa tastes, you can indulge it by using dog treats that contain the chocolate substitute – Carob. Carob looks and tastes like chocolate.