How much is too much chocolate for your dog?
Any of you who owns a dog has heard the saying “don give your dog chocolate or it can kill him”. I have grown up hearing that constantly from my parents. I remember being absolutely scared to death when my childhood dog got a piece of my candy bar. I hid the fact that she got a hold of the candy bar, but I was extremely worried that I was going to kill my dog.
Now, as an adult, my dog snuck one of those big Hershey candy bars right off of the table. My daughter was so upset, because it was the first time she was able to get one of those 7 oz. candy bars. However, my dog, which was an 80 pound German shepherd, started to feel sick. It scared me to death once I realized she ate the entire candy bar. This was not one of those King size bars, but much bigger. I knew something was wrong when I went to offer a treat and she refused it. Then a few hours later she seemed like she was in a drug like state. It terrified me. I called the vet and they said that a dog that size eating that much chocolate is not toxic. It would have had to be 40 ounces that she ate. He told me that she would likely feel sick, but that these levels would be okay.
Chocolate contains theobromine that is toxic to dogs in huge quantities. It is like caffeine and is in the same family as Xanthines.
The toxic levels are measured by the dog’s individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration. These are general levels:
Milk chocolate that has 44 mg of theobromine per oz. Semisweet chocolate that has 150mg/oz. Baker's chocolate 390mg/oz.Using a dose of 100 mg/kg as the toxic dose it comes out roughly as: 1 ounce per 1 pound of body weight for Milk chocolate1 ounce per 3 pounds of body weight for Semisweet chocolate1 ounce per 9 pounds of body weight for Baker's chocolate.
How does chocolate affect the dog?
It affects the nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. It also acts as a diuretic.
What are the symptoms of toxic chocolate?
Hyper excitability Hyper irritability Increased heart rate Restlessness Increased urination Muscle tremors Vomiting DiarrheaHow is a dog treated who has toxic levels of chocolate?
This type of poisoning does not have an antidote. Usually the toxin will remain in the dog for 17.5 hours. You should have your dog induced vomiting for the first 1 to 2 hours. Activated charcoal could inhibit the absorption of the toxin. An anticonvulsant could be needed if neurological signs are indicated. Oxygen therapy, intravenous medications and fluids could be needed. They will help to protect the heart of the dog.
I was lucky that my dog did not need any of the above treatments. I just watched her and she was up and back to her sweet self the very next day. Ready to go for our daily walk. I was grateful to be able to grab that pet stroller, since she usually runs herself ragged. Then she comes home to her favorite place in the entire house, her pet bed.
If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, don’t hesitate to call your vet. They will have the necessary information for you.