Dogs are much more sensitive to chocolate than humans. Half a bar of chocolate can already lead to deadly poisoning in a dog. The toxicity depends on the type of chocolate and the amount ingested.
Cocoa contains mainly theobromine and to lesser extent caffeine. Dogs are very sensitive to theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine, and therefore the more dangerous it is for the dog. White chocolate contains virtually no theobromine and is therefore not dangerous.
For a dog with an allergy to chocolate, a small amount of 10 grams can already be fatal.
Theobromine is an alkaloid belonging to the methylxanthine family, which also includes theophylline and caffeine. It is responsible for the bitter taste in cocoa and chocolate. These plant alkaloids provide stimulation of the central nervous system and the heart muscle. In addition, they give a relaxation of the smooth muscles (especially those of the respiratory tract) and increase urine production.
Do not leave chocolate or pralines on the table or counter. Even though this is out of sight of the animal, dogs are masters at locating food and definitely know how to find it. In addition, dogs are not very picky when it comes to food. So don’t take any chances and keep chocolate away from dogs.
Symptoms that your dog may have eaten chocolate
Two to four hours after ingestion, symptoms begin: the dog is restless, vomits, urinates frequently, and has diarrhea. The condition deteriorates when breathing speeds up, heart rate rises, and fever breaks out. A few hours later, seizures and cardiac arrhythmias may occur. This can be fatal.
Immediately contact the veterinarian in the following cases:
- Dark chocolate: If the dog has eaten more than 1 gram per kilogram of body weight (10 grams for a dog of 10 kg, 20 grams for a dog of 20 kg)
- Milk chocolate: If the dog has eaten more than 10 grams per kilogram of body weight (100 grams for a dog of 10 kg, 200 grams for a dog of 20 kg) If it concerns smaller amounts than indicated above or if your dog has eaten white chocolate, you do not have to do anything.
There is no specific antidote, but the veterinarian will treat the dog symptomatically. If the intake is recent (less than two hours), the doctor will make the dog vomit to get the dangerous substances out of the body.