Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Anyone with a sweet tooth knows that chocolate is one of those temptations that you just can’t resist! While it is tempting to share your chocolatey treat with your dog, it is important to stop and ask yourself, can dogs eat chocolate? This simple question could save the life of your sweet pet.

Chocolate is very toxic to dogs because it contains two dangerous ingredients. The first is a chemical compound called theobromine. Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid that can be found in the cacao plant. Dogs cannot absorb or pass theobromine, which is why it can be very deadly. Caffeine is the other dangerous ingredient, as it can affect a dog’s nervous system and heart rate. In serious cases, this can lead to possible seizures or tremors.

What does chocolate do to a dog?

The consumption of chocolate can affect dogs differently depending on their size, weight, the amount of chocolate they ate, and the type of chocolate they may have consumed. Some of the most common effects are restlessness, vomiting, and diarrhea at moderate doses. If too much chocolate was consumed, it could lead to more serious issues such as seizures, tremors, or death. Overall, all chocolate consumption should be avoided to protect and prevent your dog from getting severely sick.

Are certain types of chocolate worse than others? 

Death occurs when a significant quantity of chocolate that is rich in theobromine is consumed and goes unchecked. There are different types of chocolate, and some are more lethal than others. It is important to be aware of the different forms of chocolate and their effects as it could help you and your veterinarian know how serious the situation is.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of the deadliest forms of chocolate for a dog because it contains a very high amount of theobromine. Even the tiniest amount could do some damage to your dog. 

Milk Chocolate

Although milk chocolate does not contain as much theobromine as dark chocolate it can still be very poisonous to dogs.

Semisweet Chocolate or Bakers Chocolate

Semisweet is another deadly form of chocolate because of its high theobromine levels as well as for its added ingredients. 

White chocolate

The least toxic form of chocolate is white chocolate but should still be avoided. 

Cocoa Powder

The third deadliest form of chocolate is cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has been known to contain the highest theobromine level because of all the chocolate preparations that go into it. 

What should you do if your furry friend eats chocolate?

If your dog eats chocolate, it is important to first identify how much chocolate your dog ate and possibly what kind of chocolate it was. By knowing the amount and type of chocolate, you and possible medical professionals will know how to best treat and help your dog.

Now, depending on the amount your dog ate could dictate what you decide to do next. If your dog indulged themselves with a lick or two of some ice cream they could be completely fine. That is much less dangerous than if they were to eat an entire chocolate bar. If your dog did eat a significant amount of chocolate, it is important to reach out to medical professionals for some advice or to take your pet in. If you are unable to reach your vet, then contact animal poison control or go to the nearest pet emergency hospital near you. 

What are possible treatments?

There are several forms of treatment. It is encouraged that you reach out to a medical professional or your veterinarian for guidance on treatment. The most common practice is to induce vomiting by giving the dog activated charcoal. This is an essential step because it stops the continuation and absorption of the theobromine. In more serious cases, a vet may administer liquid therapy to deliver medication directly into the dog’s bloodstream. 

What sweet treats are safe for dogs?

Although you cannot feed them chocolate, there are several other sweet treat options for your sweet pup. Here is a list of safe snacks that you and your pet can enjoy together:

· Carrots

· Broccoli

· Raspberries

· Strawberries

· Mangos

· Blackberries

· Apples

· Pears

· Bananas

· Cantaloupe

· Seedless Watermelon 

· Peanut butter 

· Pumpkin

· Hard Cheese

One should note that although each of these treats is non-toxic to dogs, they should be limited in consumption. Too many of these sweet treats could upset a dog’s stomach as their stomachs are not the same as humans. 

Final Thoughts on Chocolate

Ultimately, it is best to keep all chocolate away from your beloved pet. By doing so, you will be protecting them from a very dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. You can also protect other pets and inform their owners about the dangers when they ask, “can dogs eat chocolate?”. Although you cannot share chocolate with your dog there are still several sweet threats that can satisfy both of your sweet tooths.

Written by: Jessica Pagel

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