ALL varieties of chocolate are commonly recognized as toxic food for dogs. Dark, unsweetened Bakers chocolate is the most dangerous as it contains 8 - 10 times as much "Theobromine" as milk chocolate.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Chocolate poisoning can affect many organs.
Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs may occur within 2 - 4 hours after ingestion.
Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and increased urination.
Advanced symptoms include stiffness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching and tremors, and a heightened sensitivity to noise, light, and touch.
If left untreated, this can progress to hallucinations, seizures, heart attacks, coma, and death, within 12 - 36 hours.
Note: Carob dog treats are often available as a chocolate substitute. Carob is totally unrelated to chocolate and is perfectly safe.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Please consider the following as guidelines only. Even smaller amounts than listed below, depending on the dog's individual sensitivity, have been known to lead to chocolate poisoning in dogs.
- Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate = 1 oz per 9 lbs (4 kg) of body weight
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate = 1 oz per 3 lbs (1.5 kg) of body weight
- Milk Chocolate = 1 oz per 1 lb of body weight (2.2 oz per 1 kg)
- White Chocolate = 200 oz per 1 lb of body weight (440 oz per 1 kg)
WHY ARE CHOCOLATES POISONOUS FOODS FOR DOGS?
The offending components are the combination of theobromine and caffeine.
These molecules are found in many foods, beverages, plants, and medications.
Theobromine, in particular, is an extremely toxic food for dogs. It comes from the plant Theobroma cocoa - and is also found in cocoa beans, cola and tea. It is a chemical stimulant that dogs are unable to metabolize effectively. Theobromine can remain in the dog's bloodstream for up to 20 hours.