There are many treats that are appropriate for dogs, but of these treats, chocolate is definitely not on the list. Different forms of chocolate have varying degrees of toxicity depending on the actual chocolate content. Milk chocolate is usually less dangerous than unsweetened baker’s chocolate or cocoa powder, or candies and baked goods containing these more potent forms of chocolate. The ingredients in chocolate that dangerous for dogs are caffeine and theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing and heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, and even heart failure and coma if ingested in large amounts relative to a dog’s body weight.
If your dog has ingested chocolate, a helpful resource to quickly determine the severity of the ingestion is the Chocolate Toxicity Meter for Dogs at PetMD.com. Of course, if your dog has eaten chocolate, the best course of action is to call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680 and then call us right away. Some dogs who have ingested a large quantity of chocolate for their size, or who have other health complications that may be made worse by the chocolate’s effects will require transfer to a 24 hour emergency clinic for hospitalization and monitoring. Prevention is the best medicine, so keeping all kinds of chocolate completely out of your dog’s reach is the best way to avoid an emergency situation.
If you have questions about safe treats for your dog, we’re here to help! Feel free to give us a call or send us a text anytime at (480) 820-2822.