You may have heard that chocolate is bad for dogs and toxic. This is right. It is actually the worst thing you can feed your pet with. All dogs can be killed with chocolate. How much chocolate will kill a dog? Well, there are a lot of variables you need to know and today we are going to explain all of these below. At this point, all you have to remember is that you must not feed your pet with chocolate, period!
Why is chocolate bad for dogs?
Chocolate is one of the best treats for humans. It is actually healthy (when consumed in moderation) and has impressive health benefits. But, it is toxic for dogs and it is something you should avoid at all costs. The answer is in methylxanthines. There are many of these present but one is theobromine. How much chocolate will kill a dog? It actually depends on the amount of these ingredients.
This ingredient is found in cacao and it varies greatly. For instance, high-end chocolate has a higher percentage of cacao and therefore a high level of toxin. On the other side, we have cheap chocolate that contains less cacao and less toxin. In general, dark chocolate is more dangerous for dogs than milk chocolate. In other words, dark chocolate contains more cacao and therefore more toxins.
We, humans, can absorb and remove theobromine without a single issue. It will be transferred into caffeine. In general, an adult person will need 6-10 hours to absorb 50% of the ingredient. On the other hand, dogs are unable to do this. Theobromine will cause huge pressure on the kidneys and the nervous system. If your dog eats chocolate, he will soon show certain symptoms. More on that later.
One big issue here is that dogs don’t like to stop eating until they eat all the food in the bowl. What this means is that they will eat as much chocolate as possible and they won’t be able to stop before that. In a nutshell, they are at an even higher danger of chocolate poisoning due to this behavioral trait.
How much chocolate will kill a dog?
There are two main things you need to know here. The amount that will be deadly for your pet depends on his size and the type of chocolate he ate. There are several cases and below we are going to explain each one. We will categorize the issue by the weight of a dog.
1. 3-4 kg dogs
These are known as toy dogs and they are very popular today. The best example would be the Yorkshire Terrier. As you can see they are small so the smallest amount of chocolate can be deadly. On average they will be in severe danger if they consume 27 grams of milk chocolate or 11 grams of dark chocolate.
2. 6-8 kg dogs
Jack Russell is the most common dog of this size here. They are also small dogs hence a small amount of chocolate will be dangerous. 53 grams of milk chocolate or 22 grams of dark chocolate will be deadly in this case.
3. 16-23 kg dogs
These are medium-sized dogs. One example is Springer Spaniel. 140 grams of white chocolate or 58 grams of dark chocolate will be deadly here.
4. 30-35 kg dogs
Large dog breeds such as Labrador retrievers can consume more chocolate before they are poisoned. These dogs are large hence they need more chocolate to be fatal. In general, 261 grams of white chocolate or 109 grams of dark chocolate will be fatal.
5. 57-89 kg dogs
These are the largest dogs here and they are not very common. Despite the size, they are still affected by chocolate. In general, 496 grams of milk chocolate or 206 grams of chocolate will be deadly.
Keep in mind that all the amounts here are in grams! An average package will be around 100 grams and there are much bigger packages out there. What we are trying to say is that even a single package left on the table, opened or not, can be fatal for your pet. If you are a serious chocolate fanatic, keep your chocolate somewhere where your dog cannot reach it.
Chocolate poisoning symptoms
If your pet eats chocolate he will show symptoms of poisoning. There are multiple ones here so you need to keep your eyes on your pet at all times if you suspect he ate chocolate. Anyway, the symptoms are:
- Increased urination
- Elevated heart rate
As you can see these are severe symptoms and the poisoning is not something you can ignore. There is no need in telling you that all dogs will show most of the symptoms here and the outcome doesn’t look promising.
If your dog ate chocolate, make him vomit as soon as possible.
If your pet found your stash and he ate it, you must do one thing. The first and the most important step is to make your dog vomit. By doing this you will remove the chocolate from the stomach and the aforementioned toxin won’t reach the bloodstream.
The best way to induce vomiting is to use hydrogen peroxide (use only 3%) to the mouth of your pet every 15 minutes. He should start vomiting soon. You can also use ipecac syrup. Hover, it can be used only once and you will need 2-3 spoons.
The next thing you have to do is to give activated charcoal to your pet. There are a lot of brands out there that offer specific products for this purpose. The goal here is to absorb all the toxins left inside and prevent them from reaching the bloodstream.
This does work excellently and it is something humans can use as well. Yes, you can use activated charcoal as well in order to remove any toxins from the stomach. Activated charcoal should be given in small amounts. One tablespoon will be enough for dogs under 25 pounds of weight while heavier dogs need 2 tablespoons.
The entire treatment here should be given to your pet 4-6 hours after he ate chocolate. The symptoms will be present much longer, up to 36 hours. But, this treatment is used to help your pet before you take him to a vet. As such, take him as soon as you can and he will use proper treatment to prevent the negative outcome.
Keep your dog away from chocolate at all times
Yes, you will have to keep chocolate away from your dog all the time. There are a few tips and tricks you can use in this case scenario. Your goal should be to eliminate the risk of a dog eating any amount of chocolate. Even the smallest amount will require you, taking the dog to a vet.
The first thing you can do is never to use chocolate as a treat. We already have mentioned this but just in case you skipped that part, read it here. Dogs are different than humans and as such, they need different treats. Just because something is delicious and beneficial for you, doesn’t mean it will be safe and beneficial for your pet. Find something that your dog likes and use that as a treat.
The second thing you can do is to keep chocolate in a dog-safe container. There are a lot of these on the market and they work great. Even if you forget the chocolate on the table he won’t be able to open the container and eat it.
Don’t forget to tell your friends that chocolate is bad for dogs and that they must avoid giving it to your dog. It is a common issue these days. Family members who are not familiar with the risk will feed a dog with chocolate.
It is highly advised to train your dog to obey the ‘’leave it’’ command. If you see him trying to eat chocolate, you can issue the command and he will walk away. Honestly, this is one of the best and the most effective commands you can teach your dog hence you may want to invest some time and do it.
If you spend a lot of hours at work or you are busy, get a crate for your pet. He will be able to spend time inside and he can eat only the food you are given. This is the best option for dog owners who must leave dogs home alone. There are other options as well such as dog daily care but that is another topic.
The final word
How much chocolate will kill a dog depends on his size and the amount of chocolate he ate. Try to remember that even the smallest amount can be deadly and never use chocolate as a treat. There are a lot better and safer options out there. In simple words, chocolate is poison for dogs and as such they must avoid it at all costs.
Also, you can read my other articles here:
- Why Does My Dog Look Out the Window and Whine.
- Are Lurchers Good Family Pets?
- Why Is My Dog Crying at Night?