Why is Chocolate so Bad for our Dogs?

Most of us already know that chocolate is not good for our dogs, but why?  What happens if they eat too much chocolate? How much is too much? I know I’ve had a dog occasionally eat a little chocolate, and nothing seemed to happen, so what does chocolate do to our dogs?

According to Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, in her article “How Much Chocolate is Dangerous for Dogs?” chocolate contains two compounds not good for dogs- caffeine and theobromine.  Too much of these compounds can cause “life-threatening heart or breathing problems in dogs.” 

The signs of chocolate toxicity will show up within 6-12 hours of ingesting the chocolate.  Symptoms of toxicity can be “abnormal thirst, restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures,  rapid breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.” 

Interestingly, different kinds of chocolate have different amounts of toxic compounds. “White chocolate contains minimal amounts, milk chocolate has moderate amounts and dark or bittersweet chocolate has the most.”  So depending on the chocolate your pup eats, it can cause more or less toxicity. Obviously the more chocolate your dog eats, the more harmful it is. The size of your dog also is important. An 80-pound dog would probably need to eat 4 ½ chocolate bars for problems, but a dog under ten pounds could tolerate about the size of a Hershey kiss at most to have symptoms of toxicity.

For a dog, chocolate calculator click on this link by Vets now:

How Much Chocolate Can A Dog Eat? Use Our Calculator To Find Out 

Always call your veterinarian if you notice your dog has eaten a concerning amount of chocolate or if your dog is showing toxicity symptoms.


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