Chocolate is a tasty brown snack and most of us would love to have it without any issues other than a growing waistline or decaying teeth. We love to eat and share this form of sweet with others during many festive occasions in our life. We all might have thought at least once when our doggies try to taste the Chocolates, “what does chocolate do to dogs?”. Let’s dive into this article and see the possibilities of feeding this awesome form of sweet to your pooch.
Composition of chocolate
Chocolate is prepared from roasted and ground cacao seeds and it is made into various forms and shapes. It may be used as a sweetening ingredient in different food sources.
In spite of the fact that cocoa began in the Americas, West African nations, especially Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. They are the main makers of cocoa in the 21st century, representing 60% of the world’s cocoa supply.
100g of milk chocolate contains 540 calories of energy. Please find below a breakdown of the nutrition present in Chocolates.
- 59% carbs (52% as sugar and 3% as dietary fiber)
- 30% fat
- 8% protein
Around 65% of the fat in milk chocolate is saturated, containing palmitic acid and stearic acid, while the major unsaturated fat is oleic acid.
Besides the above, Chocolate contains theobromine, Phenylethylamine, Formamide, and caffeine. Structurally Theobromine and caffeine look similar, and both belong to the methylxanthines group.
Why can’t dogs have chocolate?
Chocolate which contains healthy medical advantages for humans can be destructive for dogs. Theobromine, caffeine, Phenylethylamine, and Formamide make chocolates unsuitable for your dog’s health.
These synthetic compounds in cocoa and its byproducts in any form of chocolate will affect dog’s health. Medium to larger levels of consumption can lead to chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Dogs are scavengers who don’t prefer to quit eating until the food is done. This makes them more helpless against chocolate poisoning. At the point when they find a large chocolate box, no doubt they will not stop until it’s done.
The below factors chooses the harmfulness level of chocolate for dogs,
- Weight of your dog
- Amount of chocolate eaten by your dog
- The type of chocolate ate by your dog. Here the standard is that the more the level of the cocoa present, the more is the more harmfulness.
As indicated by the ASPCA, gentle impacts of theobromine poisoning can be seen at a portion of 20 mg/kg. Serious signs start at around 40 mg/kg and seizures can start at 60 mg/kg. A median lethal dose (LD50) is the portion of a poison needed to kill half of the sample population. It’s a typical method of estimating a deadly part of a substance in toxicological research, and for theobromine, the LD50 is 100-200 mg/kg.
What happens if dogs eat chocolate?
Theobromine acts as a diuretic, smooth muscle relaxant, and blood vessel dilator in most living organisms. Dogs metabolize theobromine very slowly, hence it is inducing chocolate toxicity to these animals like dogs.
Chocolates have methylxanthine segments. This supports the activation of adenosine receptors for dogs. These receptors are mostly liable for making us feel sleepy and lazy. Methylxanthines inhibit these lethargic sleepy feelings.
They will feel sick, may vomit, and have a high pulse, diarrhea, give indications of hyperactivity. If they consume a lot of methylxanthines, tremors, seizures, and potentially death are possible.
Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs
- Increased Urination
- Collapse and death
- Elevated or strange pulse
The dog might be anxious with drooling saliva and could experience walking and standing difficulties. Increased thirst is additionally normal.
As the disorder progresses, there is an expanded pace of breathing and muscle tremor in the more seriously affected dogs. Urination may contain blood, and the gums’ shade may take on a pale blue tint (this is known as “cyanosis”). Ultimately, the dog may develop convulsions and die.
Old dogs that eat a lot of chocolate might have unexpected death from heart failure. Particularly, in dogs with previous coronary illness.
How much chocolate can kill a dog?
Cardiovascular side effects of chocolate harmfulness happen around 40 to 50 mg/kg, and seizures happen at doses greater than 60 mg/kg.
Different chocolate types have distinctive theobromine levels. For example, Cocoa, cooking chocolate, and dark chocolate contain the highest levels. While milk chocolate and white chocolate have the least. The significant level of theobromine in dark chocolate implies a very small quantity of it could harm a dog. An ounce of dark chocolate might be sufficient to harm a 44-pound dog.
Milk chocolate: Once ounce of milk chocolate per pound of your dog’s bodyweight could harm your dog’s health. One pound of milk chocolate is toxic enough for a 20 pound dog. While half-pound is sufficient for a 10-pound dog’s illness. The normal chocolate bar found in the market contains 2/3 ounces of milk chocolate. Therefore, 2-3 sweet treat is sufficient to harm your dog if your dog is 10 pounds weight.
Sweet Cacao: Cacao powder itself is more perilous than anything talked about previously. 0.3 ounces per pound of bodyweight of dogs can be harmful. 1/3 pound can be toxic for a 20-pound dog and 1/6 pound for a 10-pound dog.
Baking chocolate: 2 ounces is enough for harming a 20-pound dog. 1 ounce of theobromine is enough to harm a 10-pound dog.
White chocolate: White chocolate contains less cocoa powder. On the off chance that your dog weighs 250 pounds, the signs of poisoning can be noticeable after taking 250 pounds of white chocolate. 125 pounds to harm a dog which is 10 pounds weight.
Chocolate Icecream: Chocolate frozen yogurt can contain theobromine. It is also brimming with unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar and fat, which are awful for dogs. Moreover, most dogs are lactose intolerant, so consuming more lactic products may bring about stomach problems.
Chocolate Cake: When it comes to chocolate cake or brownies, the theobromine content will be low compared to a chocolate bar. The number of ingredients that go into a cake will weaken the overall chocolate concentration, hence bringing down the measure of theobromine in each nibble. However, you should consider that any chocolate cake with the same amount of theobromine per gram as milk chocolate will have similar toxicity risks!
The breakdown of theobromine content in each type of chocolate in milligrams (mg) per ounce (oz) is mentioned below,
- Cacao beans: 300-1500 mg/oz.
- Unsweetened preparing chocolate: 390-450 mg/oz.
- Cocoa powder: 400-737 mg/oz.
- Dark chocolate: 135 mg/oz.
- Milk chocolate: 44-60 mg/oz.
- White chocolate: 0.25 mg/oz.
How long does it take for chocolate to affect a dog?
Indications of chocolate poisoning normally show up from 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten it, which might last as long as 72 hours.
What to do if your dog eat chocolate – home remedies?
First aid and Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning:
The most ideal approach to getting anything unsafe out of your dog’s body is to make them vomit. You can do this by giving one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, sold at a 3% concentration, blended in with water. You can try blending it in with vanilla frozen yogurt if your dog doesn’t drink it in any case. Spray this mixture to the back of the dog’s tongue using an eyedropper or a syringe. The taste and frothing induce vomiting within 5 to 10 minutes.
If it doesn’t work for the first time then you can repeat it once. Don’t give repeatedly as this can result in severe continuous vomiting. 2 or 3 teaspoons of Ipecac syrup can also be tried if the above method to induce vomiting is not working.
Never give your dog salt to instigate vomiting. Give raw goat’s milk since it would soothe his stomach to calm down the impact of caffeine which he ingested.
After vomiting, you can give your dog activated charcoal blended water. One teaspoon for dogs under 25 pounds and two teaspoons for dogs more than 25 pounds. You can attempt the Toxiban brand’s Activated charcoal which is commonly used in this kind of emergency.
For positive outcomes, the treatment mentioned above should be given within 4-6 hours from the hour of eating chocolates. Symptoms may continue as long as a day and a half. In worst-case scenarios look for help from your veterinary specialist or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for guidance.
Save the packet of the chocolate your dog ate so your vet will best understand how to treat your dog given the conditions.
Treatments that might be followed by a vet include:
- Passage of a stomach tube (to eliminate poison straightforwardly from the stomach)
- Intravenous liquids (to assist with hydration and cardiovascular help)
- Activated charcoal (to prevent further assimilation of the poison from the gut)
- Other treatments pointed toward controlling explicit clinical signs
How can I protect my dog from eating chocolate?
AKC has explained some useful methods to prevent the dogs from eating chocolates.
- Never use chocolates as a treat or award for your dog. Regardless of whether your dog doesn’t become ill from eating limited quantities of chocolate, in any case, it’s actually best that they stay away from it. Experts saying that repeated theobromine exposure prompted the advancement of cardiomyopathy in dogs. Cardiomyopathy is a constant heart muscle infection that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood.
- Train your dog with “Leave it” command to leave something which we don’t like and seems to be bad for dog’s health.
- The safest approach to guarantee your dog doesn’t eat anything harmful while you’re not monitoring him is to crate train him. Find a sturdy crate that is huge enough for your dog to stand up and turn around and make it a safe spot for him to retreat to when he needs to be distant from everyone else or when you can’t watch him. Offer toys, a stuffed Kong, a most loved cover, and treats to help him feel like the crate is his own home.
- Use an infant door to keep your dog out of the kitchen and eating regions.
- Supervise kids when they are around the dog, and instruct them to avoid showing or feeding chocolates to your dogs.
Finally, chocolate is unhealthy for your dog. So it would be better for you not to share chocolate with your dog. Even a little amount of chocolate can make your dog curious to taste more when you aren’t around them.
Follow the first aid treatments stated above if you find any of the discussed symptoms in your dog.
Credit: Photos by Elisa Kennemer on unsplash.