Although it may be quite tempting to give in to those pleading puppy eyes and hand over a tasty treat, chocolate should never be given to dogs. There are plenty of other pet-friendly treats that you can give your pooch.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a diuretic and caffeine-like stimulant. This stuff is found in cacao seeds, which are a large component of chocolate. Dogs metabolize theobromine much slower than we do. Once a pooch eats some chocolate, it can take a few days to work its way completely out of his system. Chocolate also has high levels of fat in it. The high levels of fat can cause health issues, too, and can develop into life-threatening conditions such as pancreatitis.
Milk Chocolate vs. Other Chocolates
As a rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the more potent the side effects on a dog. Excluding white chocolate, milk chocolate has the lowest concentration of theobromine in it. Baking chocolate is very concentrated, 10 times more potent than milk chocolate, and is the most dangerous to your four-legged friend.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
If your pooch has gobbled down some milk chocolate, you may notice some changes in his behavior. Vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects from eating chocolate. You may also notice panting, excessive thirst and hyperactivity. He may have tremors, seizures and an abnormal heart rhythm. In severe cases, it may be fatal.
How Much is Dangerous?
WebMD states that no amount of chocolate is safe to feed your dog. One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of your dog’s weight can be lethal. So if you have a 10-pound dog and he chows down 10 ounces of a chocolate bar, he’s in big danger.
What to Do
If you notice some of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning, your dog is acting off or you caught him nose deep in the chocolate goodie jar, you need to act fast. Call your vet or local emergency veterinarian clinic. Do not induce vomiting unless your vet tells you to. If you can’t get ahold of either one, call ASPCA poison control at 888-426-4435. They are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. They do charge a service fee, however.