We always think about why many human foods are dangerous for our canines’ consumption, chocolate is no difference. Why dogs can’t eat chocolate has a long and reasonable scientific explanation of why we can’t give our dogs chocolate.
Humans have different digestive enzymes that are capable of digesting different chemical compounds including those found in chocolate.
We love to share our lives with our buddies in every single aspect. If you are going for a walk, you will think ‘I could take my pal with me’, taking a nap or giving him a treat while you are eating breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper!
Dogs really resemble humans in their love for food, and we always make sure to give our canine a piece of our lavish meals, but you need to know what is the kind of food that you can give your dog and what you shouldn’t give to him, in addition to finding alternative options to give for your pooch.
Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate and Other Human Food
Chocolate is not the only thing we shouldn’t give our dogs, there are many lists that have food that would cause a health problem for our pets. The reason why dogs can’t eat chocolate or other types of food is very simple, biochemistry.
Dogs have different digestive system regulations than us that’s why some of our food is not suitable for them and in many cases is considered toxic.
For chocolate, many people think that it is dangerous for dogs because they have caffeine in it, indeed chocolate has caffeine but it is found with a very little amount and it is not the chemical component that harms dogs.
Theobromine is the component responsible for health problems for dogs when they eat chocolate. It is an alkaloid that acts as a stimulus, theobromine has the same effect as caffeine but makes many complications for dogs. It is from a compound family that is called methylxanthines.
For humans, methylxanthines are not that dangerous, in fact, it causes euphoria for us when we eat chocolate, but it has a very different effect on dogs.
The enzyme that is responsible for breaking down theobromine has no presence in dogs’ enzymes so theobromine will accumulate and cause many problems.
What makes theobromine dangerous is that it will over stimuli the dog’s nervous or cardiovascular systems which will lead to problems like; vomiting, increase the blood pressure, dehydration, seizures, abdominal pains and in some cases, it will lead to death!
Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate; Do The Type of Chocolate Matter?
Yes, the type of chocolate eat will matter when we talk about the effect that it will leave on dogs. Chocolate is processed from cocoa seeds and used in manufacturing many kinds of chocolate and cocoa powder, every type is different in its effect because of the original cocoa seeds found in them.
There is a simple rule for knowing what kind of chocolate is more influential on dogs, the darker the chocolate is the more problems it may cause, it is simple as that.
White chocolate is almost with no bad effect on dogs as it has very little cocoa in it so it is nearly non-toxic. Another type of chocolate as the bakery chocolate is very rich with theobromine, thus, it would be scary if your dog actually consumed a big amount of this type. Compared to white chocolate, it would be more poisonous for dogs.
Milk chocolate is bad for dogs but it is not dangerous as dark chocolate, but you still have to keep it away from your dog as dark chocolate too.
Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate; Do The Amount Matter?
As the type of chocolate has different toxic levels, then, the amount a dog will consume of chocolate will influence the number of symptoms a dog will suffer from
Here is a table of the amount of theobromine found in some of the things that found in most of the households;
|Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, processed with alkali||86gram||2266 mg|
|Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares shaped||132gram||1712 mg|
|Cocoa in the form of dry powder, unsweetened||86gram||1769 mg|
|Baking chocolate, unsweetened, liquid||28gram||447 mg|
|Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie, regular, dry mix||40gram||238 mg|
|Desserts, dry mix, chocolate||57gram||242 mg|
|Puddings, chocolate flavor, with a small amount of calorie, dry mix||40gram||189 mg|
|Syrups, chocolate flavored syrup||35gram||68.3 mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast||28 gram||685 mg|
|Candies, chocolate, dark, 70-85% cocoa||101gram||810 mg|
|Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or plain||5 gram||92.6 mg|
This table may help you in calculating the amount of chocolate or cocoa powder found in many products that are found in almost every household, it will be of great use if your dog, accidentally, ate chocolate and you need to know the amount he ate to tell for the veterinarian for a better diagnosis.
If your dog ate about 20 grams or above of any type of chocolate, you will need to call your vet right away.
Let’s take an example of how to calculate and know if a dog ate a big amount of chocolate that is considered dangerous or raise any worries if we have a dog, let’s call her Rosey, and she ate 2 ounces dark chocolate, you will have to multiply the amount she ate to the amount of theobromine found in the chocolate divide by her weight.
If the number is so close to 20 grams or above, you will have to call your vet as you are in the danger zone if the number you get is away from 20(let’s say about 8.5) you are in the safe zone and your dog is likely to be not affected by the chocolate he ate, but you will have to keep an eye on him for the rest of the day to make sure he is not affected at all by the chocolate he ate.
What If My Dog Ate Chocolate?
Accidents always happen, even we have made all the needed procedures for dogs not to get his hands (or paws!) on any chocolate, it may still get to him in the most unexpected way possible.
If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate you will have to call your vet to make sure nothing is going to take a wrong path a hurt your dog.
A friend of mine had an incident where her dog got a hold on a huge amount of chocolate and ate way more than 20 grams of chocolate.
It was Halloween and as we all and usually, at the end of the day all the kids will have buckets full of many kinds of sweets and chocolate. My friend has a little boy in her family and on that day one of his friends was going to spend the night at their house.
The rules are known for all the member of the family, no sweets or chocolate for their pooch, but the kid who was spending the night at their house didn’t know that he was eating a bar of chocolate and when he found the dog sitting next to him in anticipation, he decided to give him just a little piece of chocolate.
But the little piece ended up to be a lot of chocolate for the dog. At that point no one knew that the boy gave the dog chocolate in the first place and even when the little kid told his friend about what he did, my friend’s brother decided to not to tell anyone about it because he thought ‘the dog didn’t eat that much, he will be okay, anyway, why dogs can’t eat chocolate, it not as if it is bad for us or anything’ but unfortunately, the dog started to show some symptoms that are related for chocolate consumption.
The older members of the family started to notice that something is wrong when the dog started to vomit, when that happened the kids told them about the chocolate incident and the dog was taken immediately to an animal care center.
He spent the rest of the day being hospitalized there and was released after that. It was a terrifying experience with chocolate poisoning that my friend has to ban chocolate from entering the house because for months before giving on that decision.
The question of ‘why dogs don’t eat chocolate’ was answered for those little kids the hard way, but fortunately, the dog is now safe and sound. So now whenever they hear the question “why dogs can’t eat chocolate” they will provide a solid answer for the bad influence chocolate could be on dogs.
This story got a happy ending because the incident was handled in the right way, which is leaving the experts to do their jobs, many would think as my friend’s brother that this chocolate won’t hurt him and it will be okay, but even small amounts of chocolate in some cases could be lethal.
Your Dog Ate Chocolate, What Should You Do;
As we said before, if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, calling a vet is the ideal solution, the veterinarian will ask you about the amount of chocolate your dog ate, its type and his weight to be able to know how serious the situation is.
He might ask you to make the dog vomit by using hydrogen peroxide if the dog didn’t vomit already, two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide for every twenty pounds, you could use a medicine dropper to give the liquid for the dog.
You could bribe the dog with peanut butter with hydrogen peroxide put on its edges, dogs tend to lick all the food put on their plate clean so, this option should work too.
After the dog vomit, don’t give him food or water right away, you will need to wait a bit before giving him/her any food.
If you are sure that your dog had eaten chocolate, don’t wait for the signs or symptoms to show up, it could take about 6-12 hours for them to show up and the wait is not good for your dog, the sooner you treat it, the more time it will take your dog to get rid of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning.
Here are some of the common signs that you need to keep an eye for;
- Rapid Heart Beating
- Raise in the Dog’s body Temperature
- Extreme Thirst
- Reflex Responses Increase
Any dog who had a chocolate stimulation will spend some time before all the symptoms go away, in serious cases, the dog may suffer from these symptoms for about three days. If the dog is treated early, he would recover faster plus, lower costs for his medications.
Commonly, vets will first judge the dog’s condition then gives him/her the right treatment based on the diagnosis.
The most common medical procedures taken by vets for dog’s with chocolate poisoning is using fluids or IV drugs, for example, they could use a drug called apomorphine to make the dog vomit, also, they might use the stomach pumping for flushing the dog’s stomach with fluids.
Activated charcoal is a drug used to prevent chocolate components from getting to the dog’s blood.
ASPCA’s poison hotline (888-426-4435) gets many calls that have to do with dogs and chocolate. Why dogs can’t eat chocolate is not the most asked questions of course but it is still there too.
Dark chocolate, dry cocoa powder, and bakers chocolate are the most dangerous types of chocolate that you have to keep away from your dog, milk or white chocolate are not as dangerous as those three, but you will have to keep an eye for them too.
Why Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate; Keeping Your Dog Safe
Dogs are not like cats, they would eat anything you serve them, they also don’t know how to mark that they are full, they will eat food as long as you are serving them more.
This happens especially when you are eating and you find your dog coming in anticipation to be rewarded with some of the food you are eating, if it is dog safe for him then it’s no problem, but when you have any of the foods that are dangerous for dogs you will need to hold it up.
To keep your dog safe and happy when he comes to you to take some of the food you got, keep some treats always nearby so when he approaches you for food give him of some of his treats.
Chocolate may be a source of euphoria for us, but for our dogs it is lethal. Never give your dog any chocolate and whenever you feel like giving your dog something sweet, try a healthy treat for your dog that he will like as much as chocolate or maybe like it even more!
Check Best Dog Training Treats; Healthy Treats and More! to get a glimpse of many options that you could give to your dog, some of them are sweet but won’t hurt your dog in any mean.