Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

on November 16, 2022

 why is chocolate bad for dogs

You may have heard that chocolate can kill a dog. Or perhaps you’ve heard others say, “My dog ate chocolate and was perfectly fine.” Can both stories be true? Yes, in fact. We’ll tell you why.

In this article, we will take a quick look at why chocolate can have very different effects on different dogs. Plus, what do you do for your fur baby if they get chocolate poisoning? The solutions may be simple and immediate.

Read on to learn more.

Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

The main toxic ingredient in chocolate is called theobromine. Theobromine cannot be easily digested by dogs, though few humans have any problem with it.

Why is theobromine problematic? 

Theobromine acts like a stimulant, much like caffeine. It can lead to:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood vessel dilation
  • Smooth muscle relaxation
  • Vomiting

The really dangerous, but rare, side effects to dogs of theobromine poisoning include tremors, seizures and heart failure. For some dogs, that can mean death. Theobromine combined with caffeine is even more dangerous--which makes chocolate double trouble for dogs. 

Even though these side effects are rare, given their seriousness, dogs should never have chocolate

Is White Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

The general rule is that the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous for your dog. Darker chocolates have more caffeine and also more theobromine.

However, even the lightest of chocolates, white chocolate, can still be toxic to your fur baby. A small amount of theobromine can harm some dogs, depending on their individual propensity for sensitivity to it. The fat and sugar in the chocolate aren’t good for your pet either. So, best to never let your dog have any chocolate.

The other major risk factor for chocolate poisoning in dogs is weight to chocolate ratio. The smaller the dog, the more likely the chocolate toxicity load will be higher. Also, the more your dog consumes, the more likely to experience the negative side effects of eating chocolate.

So, less is better, none is best.

If your dog eats only a little, or a lighter chocolate, you may be more likely to safely treat the condition at home.

What If Your Dog Seems to LIKE Chocolate?

Some of us know our pups just get into everything. What’s more, your dog may seem to specifically want chocolate--even climbing on the kitchen counter to swipe a bar! What a bad dog!

These things have been known to happen.

If your pet seems to particularly love chocolate flavoring, carob treats for dogs have a similar, doggy safe, taste.

Just be sure to get carob made specifically for dogs. Anything made for humans, particularly anything sweetened, may have ingredients which are toxic to your fur baby. For example, xylitol, a common sugar alcohol sweetener, is toxic to pets.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate

If your dog ate chocolate, act quickly!

First: look for signs of chocolate poisoning, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy drooling
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Racing heart rate
  • Tremors, shaking or seizures

If you see any of these symptoms, get your dog emergency veterinary care.

If you do not see these symptoms, you may be able to safely help your dog at home. Follow this care plan for potential chocolate poisoning:

  1. Call and speak with your vet and inform them of the situation.
  2. Take your dog on a walk and see if you can induce vomiting with a little exercise.
  3. After vomiting, focus on hydration and recovery.

Some websites recommend things which can be very unsafe for your dog, such as activated charcoal to absorb the theobromine or a hydrogen peroxide mixture to induce vomiting. Never do these home remedies unless directed by your vet! Charcoal causes other problems. Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous (and corrosive). 

An After Chocolate Poisoning Care Plan

When your dog successfully recovers from chocolate poisoning, focus on an after-care plan, including:

  • Hydration for health and faster recovery.
  • A soft meal, which may be easier to digest than hard foods.
  • Probiotics to help digestion and boost immunity.
  • CBD oil to soothe and calm your fur baby.

CBD, in particular, is an important part of a dog’s total wellness plan. CBD helps restore homeostasis, a biology term meaning “all of the parts working together toward the whole.” When your pet’s whole wellness counts, count on CBD to help get them there--either restoring or maintaining total pet wellness.

At Bad Dog CBD we curate our CBD products so that you can find exactly the right remedy or treat for your favorite fur baby. Check out our online store to find the right product for your pet.

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