Unfortunately, dogs can die if they consume too much chocolate. However, there are numerous factors to take into consideration before jumping to the conclusion that your dog will immediately die if they get into your chocolate stash. Many dogs have eaten chocolate and lived to tell about it, which is why it's important you understand how chocolate affects your pawsome partner in crime.
Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate
Some of the factors that contribute to how chocolate will affect your dog include:
- Overall health
- Type of chocolate consumed
- Amount of chocolate consumed
In most cases, signs of chocolate poisoning show up approximately 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten the chocolate. Symptoms may last for as long as 72 hours, so it is important you are there to monitor your pup's behavior. Older dogs and dogs with certain heart conditions are at a higher risk of death from chocolate poisoning, which is something to keep in mind for dog owners.
- Increased urination
- Muscle tremors
- Increased heart rate
History of Dogs Eating Chocolate
Science Behind Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
Life-threatening cases of chocolate poisoning in dogs occur because these domesticated animals metabolize theobromine much slower than humans. Furthermore, they can easily consume toxic levels of chocolate in one sitting. It is recommended that a dog sees a vet within two hours of ingesting the chocolate in order for induced vomiting to work.
In order to determine how much chocolate is too much for your dog, make sure you know how much they weigh. Theobromine is poisonous in doses of about 100-150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. It should also be noted that different types of chocolate have various levels of toxicity. For example, white chocolate is usually not harmful, but straight cocoa powder and cocoa mulch (sold for outdoor purposes) can be quite toxic in small amounts. Unsweetened baker's chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and then dark chocolate are next in order of toxicity.
Theobromine isn't the only dangerous component of chocolate for dogs, caffeine can also disrupt their nervous system and cause serious symptoms. So, while a few nibbles on a dark chocolate bar may not result in death if you have a big Labrador, it could be quite harmful to smaller breeds like a Chihuahua.
Regardless of the size of your dog or the type and amount of chocolate he has consumed, it is always safe to call your vet right away if you suspect they've gotten into your secret chocolate drawer.
Training Your Dog Not to Eat Chocolate
Never leave chocolate out where your dog can sneak it. This is especially important to keep in mind during the holidays, or if you have kids. Explain the dangers of chocolate for your dog to your older children, so they know to keep it out of reach.
The command "leave it" is quite effective in stopping dogs from eating something they shouldn't, such as chocolate. Make sure your dog knows it well, as it could save their life!
The best way to keep your dog from getting into food that he shouldn't when you aren't around is by crate training him. Whenever you leave the house, your dog will happily go to his crate to snuggle with his favorite toy, rather than getting into your chocolate.
How to React If Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate
Call your vet or the pet poison hotline immediately!
Watch for the signs of chocolate poisoning.
Stay with him and monitor his behavior.
Bring him to the vet if instructed to (or just to be safe).