Chocolate contains theobromine, which is an ingredient that humans have no problem digesting. Dogs, however, can't. About 100-150 mg of thebromine per kg of your dog's body weight can kill them - in short, you don't want to mess around.
The biggest issue with chocolate prevention is your dog's nose. Dogs have amazing noses. They can smell almost 100,000 times better than humans can. Not only do they have 25 times more sensory receptors than us, they're led by their olfactory cortex, which is about 40 times larger than ours. While we're visually-driven, dogs are scent-driven, and they love the smell of chocolate.
Want to know more about dog and chocolate issues? Want to learn how to prevent your dog from eating too much chocolate? Read on to learn more!
Signs Your Dog Has Sniffed Out the Chocolate
To ensure you know what's going on with your dog, be aware of their body language. If you suspect they have gotten into chocolate, look for signs of hyperactivity. Even if you have a pretty active dog, you can bet that if they ate chocolate, the extra sugar boost is kicking in. Alternatively, watch for the following crash. Once the theobromine hits your dog's system, they'll start to feel weak, nauseous, fatigued, and sleepy. Your dog might crash, faint, or lose consciousness.
They also might act uncharacteristically thirsty, start vomiting, have diarrhea or other bowel issues, and more.
- Raspy panting
- Internal Bleeding
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Muscle Rigidity
History of Dogs Smelling Chocolate
Chocolate is no joking matter when it comes to canines. In hundreds of case studies throughout history, dogs have been proven unable to digest a chemical in chocolate called theobromine, and the additional caffeine in chocolate is also harmful to your dog. Canines who eat chocolate are at risk of dying because of both the alkaline theobromine and the stimulant caffeine.
In a case study of a 4-year-old Labrador who had eaten Easter chocolates, the dog vomited a small amount of brown liquid, was visibly shaking and was restless with rigid muscles. Vets found that these were all symptoms of chocolate toxicity and were able to diagnose and remedy the problem, all while proving that chocolate is a toxic substance for pups.
The Science Behind Chocolate and Your Dog
Different kinds of chocolate contain different kinds of and amounts of theobromine. So, if you have a giant dog that accidentally eats a touch of chocolate, odds are, they are going to be okay. Should you take them to the vet immediately? Absolutely, but they'll likely get a little sick and feel better in a day or so.
If your tiny pup eats a small amount of chocolate - especially dark chocolate - though, it's likely they're going to have a much more serious reaction and they are far more likely to die if not treated immediately.
The caffeine in the chocolate is just as much an issue as the theobromine. It's a stimulant your dog is not prepared to digest and can make your dog's heart race and give them seizures. The toxic components of chocolate are too hard for dogs to metabolize and digest, making it a slow process that allows time for toxic levels to build up in their systems.
How to Train Your Dog to Avoid Chocolate
There are things you can do to ensure your dog never gets to the chocolate though, no matter how much they can smell it. Put the chocolate high up in a spot they can't reach. Hide it away, and ensure that your friends and family members aren't treating your dog to any chocolate, either.
You can also teach your dog the command "leave it." If they accidentally do get some chocolate in their mouth, you can advise them to drop it and leave it alone, something that's been proven to save dogs' lives. Another helpful training tip is to crate train your pup to ensure that they don't get into anything harmful while you're away.
How to React if Your Dog Eats Chocolate:
Call your vet immediately!
If instructed, induce vomiting.
Take your dog to the clinic ASAP.
Find a new hiding spot for your chocolate, preferably above where your dog can reach it.
Try to mask the chocolate smell if you can.