Chocolate and Your Pets
Your dog may love the taste of chocolate, but don’t let him have any. Chocolate can be dangerous for many animals, but especially dogs, because it contains theobromine, a stimulant naturally occurring in the cacao bean. Consumption of theobromine can lead to toxicity and even death in some animals.
Theobromine is chemically similar to caffeine. While safe for humans, other species, such as dogs, lack a specific enzyme and can’t metabolize theobromine. Overdoses of theobromine can cause seizures and convulsions.
It also may be dangerous for cats to ingest theobromine. However, they are not as much a worry as dogs, who are known for their robust eating habits. Cats are more discriminating in their diets and are unlikely to devour a significant quantity of chocolate.
If you suspect your dog has eaten a sizeable amount of chocolate immediately contact your veterinarian. Individual canines vary in their sensitivity to theobromine. Here is an overview of how much chocolate can pose a problem:
- 4 to 10 ounces of milk chocolate or 1/2 to 1 ounce of baking chocolate for small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and toy poodles.
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of milk chocolate or 2 to 3 ounces of baking chocolate for medium-sized dogs, like cocker spaniels and dachshunds.
- 2 to 4 1/2 pounds of milk chocolate or 4 to 8 ounces of baking chocolate for large dogs, including collies and Labrador retrievers.