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Dog Chocolate Toxicity Calculator

Chocolate toxicity in dogs


Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

Chocolate is harmful to our dog’s health because it contains a little caffeine and a lot from a chemical called theobromine, which is similar to is. Both chemicals are poisonous for dogs(and cats as well) and used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant for humans. Unlike humans, most pets' s but especially dogs organs can’t metabolize theobromine so easily. They process it much more slowly, which makes them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects and can easily build up to toxic levels in their system it is very toxic for their nervous system as well. With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually also marked by restlessness.

Different type of chocolate, different level of toxicity

The amount of theobromine and caffeine varies with the type of chocolate, therefore the toxicity of the chocolate depends on its type. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more theobromine, and caffeine does it contain, therefore the more harmful it is to dog’s health. Cocoa powder, cocoa bean, cooking chocolate, and dark chocolate contains the highest levels of theobromine, while milk chocolate has lower and white chocolate has the lowest. The highest level of theobromine and caffeine is in dark chocolate and baking chocolate that means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog. While dark chocolates can contain about 400 mg of theobromine/ounce a bar of regular milk chocolate contains about 50 mg and white chocolates approximately 0.25mg/ounce. To cut a long story short the chocolate’s toxicity is getting more and more as it gets darker. A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your pet an upset stomach with symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. At doses over 50 mg /kg  cardiac signs and symptoms, such as a racing heart rate, high blood pressure, or heart arrhythmias neurologic signs can be seen, including tremors, twitching can occur. You have to go to the veterinarian immediately if the dog has ingested that much chocolate because they need emergency care, in this case. To help you forecast how much danger your dog is in, we developed a chocolate toxicity calculator. Based on the type and amount of chocolate ingested.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning

As it is mentioned above, the symptoms are depending on the amount and type of chocolate our dog has eaten. The precondition of the dog is also determining (dogs with heart-related disorders will need emergency care even after they have eaten only one slab of chocolate ). The size and weight of the dog are also influential variables. (A large dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects). But vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, hyperactivity, excessive urination, and a racing heart rate are common symptoms of theobromine poisoning. At more serious cases, (at doses over 50 mg/ kg ) they can experience muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure as well. A larger amount of dark chocolate especially for pets with pre-existing heart disease can even cause cardiac arrest and sudden death. These signs can take several hours to develop and can last for days, due to the long half-life of theobromine, so that is where the chocolate toxicity calculator is needed the most even if you haven’t sensed any of the symptoms listed above on your dog, but recognize missing chocolate, you can calculate how serious the situation is. The sooner the theobromine is removed from the body or the dog is stabilized, the better your dog’s prognosis, so take your pet to the veterinary as soon as possible

Treatment of chocolate poisoning

The proper treatment is of course dependent on the amount of the theobromine and caffeine in their system. Administration of activated charcoal to block absorption of theobromine into the body and the getting medications to induce vomiting. So the removal of theobromine from the stomach with proper medication can be enough help if it is treated early so it is always advisable to take the dog to the veterinary immediately if you recognized any symptoms or has a reason to suppose they have ingested any. It takes a minimum of three days to fully recover. To reduce the continued resorption and recirculation of theobromine activated charcoal may be administered every four to six hours for the first twenty-four hours. In case of larger doses ingested or late recognition, support treatments may also be needed e.g.: intravenous fluid therapy to help stabilize your dog and promote theobromine excretion. Sometimes medications to slow the heart rate may be necessary too to treat the elevated heart rate and arrhythmia.

Dog bakeries and gourmet treats

How about dog bakeries? Doesn’t they use chocolate for the treats?

Many gourmet dog treats use carob as a chocolate substitute, which is very similar to and often confused with chocolate. Carob is not dangerous for dogs at all, they can perfectly digest without any problem. Some specialty dog bakeries do use a small amount of milk chocolate in their treats but of course, in the types, they use the amount of theobromine is typically low. So however veterinaries suggest avoiding chocolate totally, in order to preserve your dog’s health eating those may harm your dog.