Dogs, especially puppies, are known for eating things they are not supposed to. This can be a dangerous combination when there is chocolate in the house. In the right quantities, chocolate, which is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, can be harmful for any dog, whether it be large or small.
So what exactly makes chocolate toxic to dogs? It is actually the treat’s properties (caffeine and theobromine) that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and low blood pressure in a dog. In severe cases, chocolate poisoning can even lead to cardiac failure and coma.
Additionally, it is the type and amount of chocolate that will make the difference between a little upset stomach for your dog and a trip to the emergency hospital. There are three types of chocolate you should be aware of:
1. Milk Chocolate
Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested.
2. Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested.
3. Baking Chocolate
This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine. Therefore, as little as two small one-ounce squares of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 20-pound dog (or 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight).
If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, bring it to your veterinarian immediately. There, he or she will perform a variety of tests on your dog, including a chemical blood profile, a urinalysis and an echocardiogram, to determine if your dog has succumbed to a chocolate/caffeine overdose. Your vet may also induce vomiting and provide fluids for the animal in order to stabilize and rehydrate your dog.
Contrary to what some may believe, there is no magical antidote to chocolate poisoning. So protect your dog’s health by keeping all chocolate products out of its reach.
Originally published on PetMD