Chocolate! It's such a delectable, mouth-watering little snack.
However, while chocolate may taste great to both humans and
dogs alike, this treat is actually deadly to one of us. Do you
know who it is? Hint: It's not humans. Another hint: It's dogs.
That's right! Chocolate is a potential hazard to man's best
friend, and that's because it contains a special ingredient
known as theobromine. Theobromine is a substance that is
toxic to dogs in relatively low doses. What makes it so deadly
is the dog's inability to properly digest theobromine; they do
so at extremely slow speeds. In dogs, the half-life of
theobromine is somewhere around 17 hours.
Why does chocolate have to contain this troublesome ingredient? Because it's made from cacao beans, a fruit that comes from a cacao tree, and the beans are composed of 1.2% theobromine. That's why!
Now, a single drop of chocolate is not going to instantly reduce a dog to a writhing corpse on the ground. Actually, the good news is they can endure a reasonable amount theobromine before it reaches toxic levels. Minimal chocolate ingestion usually only involves diahhrea and vomitting. Still, that's pretty gross!
There are many different variables to consider when figuring out the potency of chocolate. Things like the type of chocolate and the size of your puppy (or dog) play major roles when discerning it's lethality.
Type of Chocolate
Various kinds of chocolates are readily available for purchase by people looking to satsify their sweet tooth's cravings, but not all chocolate is made the same. Some have higher concentrations of theobromine, thus making them far more potent.
Compositionally speaking, milk chocolate is one of the lowest on the list for theobromine, while Baker's Chocolate is considered one of the worst. To compare: 1 ounce of Baker's Chocolate is 10 times more powerful than 1 ounce of Milk Chocolate.
Size of Dog
The other variable is the size of your dog. Biggers dogs can eat more chocolate than smaller ones before becoming deathly ill. To illustrate, let's use Baker's Chocolate:
Let's say one of my 2 pound puppies for sale eats 0.2 of an ounce of Baker's chocolate. That alone is enough to poison them. A bigger dog, however, like an 80 pound American Bulldog, would reach toxicity at a significantly higher 8 ounces. As you can see, size plays a huge role.
Potency of Different Chocolates
Let's take an in-depth look at the common types of chocolates we may have around our households and measure the lethality of each. Dog's attain toxicity at 45mg of theobromine per pound, so the formula I'll be using is 45mg/lb.
White Chocolate (More like not chocolate.)
White Chocolate contains such little traces of theobromine that it's not even worth mentioning!
Milk Chocolate (The best chocolate!)
Milk Chocolate holds 45mg/oz of theobromine. Toxic at 1oz/1lb, or 1 ounce per 1 pound.
Dark Chocolate/Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Dark Chocolate holds 200mg of theobromine. Toxic at 1oz/5lb, or 1 ounce per 5 pounds.
Baker's Chocolate holds 450mg of theobromine. Toxic at 1oz/10lb, or 1 ounce per 10 pounds.
Dry Cocoa Powder (Wide range of theobromine levels)
Cocoa beans hold of 450-1200mg of theobromine. Toxic at 1oz/10-27lb, or 1 ounce per 10-27 pounds.
In summary, don't risk feeding your dog chocolate! Think about any unsafe locations you may have chocolate lying around that your dog may accidently stumble upon, and take safety measures by relocating it to a more secure area. High up in cupboards or inside of drawers are ideal. Just keep it away from your chocolate-loving canine; buy metal locks if you have to! Now pat yourself on the back for being such a caring owner.
Symptoms of Chocolate Ingestion
Symptoms to watch for if your dog has eaten a minor to excessive amount of chocolate:
- Increased Heartrate
- Muscle Twitcing
- Excessive Urination
Dogs eating a minor amount of chocolate, such as a few M&M's off the floor, should be fine and experience nothing more than an upset stomach. Anything beyond the first two symptoms however, indicates that a poisonous amount has been ingested and a trip to the veterinarian should be at the top of your priority list.
Handling a Chocolate Emergency
Yummy, chocolatey goodness. For humans that is.
Coming home from work and the first thing you see is your dog lying down in pain with a bag of Hershey's Kisses just a few feet to his left. That would be a terrible sight to behold. Not only has the bag of chocolate gone to waste, but your dog has probably poisoned himself! What can you do?
The most important thing you can do is react, don't idly stand by and wait to see if the dog gets better or not. The life of a pet is not something to gamble with and should be taken very seriously. Suspicion of excessive chocolate ingestion should be followed by immediate contact of a veterinarian.
Additionally, if you happen to have some activated charcoal nearby, use it just before taking your dog or puppy to the vet. Activated charcoal is an antioxidant that is widely used to treat different types of poisons in animals.
Most importantly, do not wait! Every minute counts, and you do not want to arrive seconds too late when it could have meant saving your puppy's life.
And that's all there is to it. You are now aware of the chocolatey dangers that candybar holds, so keep it to yourself! By doing so, your puppy will stay healthy, and you'll have more chocolate to eat. It's a win/win situation. Delicious!
I'm a Chihuaua breeder in California and have Chihuahua puppies for sale that range from 3 to 5 lbs grown. As we've learned, dogs at this weight are not capable of eating large quantities of chocolate before reaching toxicity, so keep your Maltipoo puppy far and away from any chocolate in your home!
You want your pet to be comfortable right? As a teacup Maltipoo breeder in California, it is my hope that my Maltipoo puppies fall into the care of loving owners who want to provide only the best of care for their new puppy. In order to do that, you need to know how to care for small dogs, and I have advice that can help.
That's right, I've written a small puppy care guide that has information not just for Maltipoo care, but the care of small puppies in general. If you have a new puppy, do yourself a favor and take a peak at the info, because it could improve your puppy care from good to great.