The Truth About Dogs and Chocolate Toxicity

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Silly dog… Hershey kisses are for mommy’s!

Everyone’s heard at some point that chocolate can be harmful to dogs.

*Quick note to God, Allah or whomever’s in charge of reincarnation – I do NOT, I repeat do NOT want to come back as a dog.

I’d rather live the short happy contented 30 day lifespan of a house fly than live a life without chocolate.

Since dogs and chocolate happen to be high on the short list of things I LOVE more than anything else on the planet, it’s inevitable that the two would eventually butt heads.

Shit happens.

Quite literally, in fact, especially when speaking of mishaps in doggie digestion.

This time the furry love-of-my-life helped himself to a full bag of Lindor chocolate truffles.

The GOOD NEWS- He’s undead and frisky.

Again.

I didn’t take him to the vet though because this isn’t exactly my first (2nd or 3rd…) rodeo, so I’m somewhat of a specialist in misbehaved canines with chocolate cravings and appropriate first aid.

I’m also passing the knowledge on to you because I’m generous AND I’d like to think I got my $160 worth out of the whole vet deal.

Listen up, human parents!

Below are FACTS about DOGS and CHOCOLATE toxicity.

Chocolate contains two substances that are toxic to dogs: theobromine and caffeine, referred to as methylxanthines.

Dogs metabolize these substances much slower than humans.

Both are central nervous system stimulants that can cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and even death in our canine companions.

The two most important variables predisposing your dog to toxicity are the SIZE of dog (in weight) and TYPE of chocolate they gorged on.

For example, the milk chocolate found in your run-of-the-mill vending machine candy bars is significantly less concentrated than dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate baking chips, baking chocolate (Baker’s) and cocoa powder. In that order.

While it may be possible for a 100 pound Lab to devour an entire box of your kids soccer fundraising bars, throw it up on your new carpet, and go about his business, the same amount of chocolate consumed by a 4 pound Yorkie could very well be it’s last meal.

In 8th grade our big dumb yellow lab-mix ate an entire box of World’s Finest Chocolate bars I was selling for a class trip to New York City. He eventually puked it up and went about his business like nothing happened. My mother was not so quick to get over it. If I remember correctly, he was a very lucky dog to have survived that daredevil stunt. Those were the good ole days – when the mother WHO WASN’T ME was in charge of cleaning up pet accidents.

Concentration of THEOBROMINE and CAFFEINE varies significantly depending on the TYPE of chocolate as stated below –

*Milk chocolate (Hershey bar) 60mg/oz Theobromine and 6mg/oz Caffeine

*Semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate – approx. 130mg/oz Theobromine and 20mg/oz caffeine

*Bakers chocolate (the bitter stuff used almost exclusively for baking)- 393mg/oz Theobromine and 47mg/oz caffeine

*Dry Cocoa Powder – 737mg/oz Theobromine and 70mg/oz caffeine

Note – the above are approximated values configured using multiple resources.

Signs of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, restlessness (later signs) tremors and seizures that usually occur 6-12 hours after ingestion, and can be fatal if the chocolate thieving canine ingests approximately 100-150 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of their body weight.

Again… the SIZE of your dog matters.

Helpful Links and references-

Chocolate Toxicity Calculator for Dogs – can provide you with a rough idea regarding the seriousness of your pooches binge. In the meantime, call your veterinarian immediately.

http://www.askavetquestion.com/chocolate_toxicity.php
Treatment-

http://m.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Dog-Who-Ate-Chocolate

ASPCA Poison 24 Hour Hotline – 888-426-4435

Petmd.com
Vspn.org Veterinary Support Personnel Network

Askavetquestion.com
Pass it on – Information is Power.

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