Here’s an excellent article about chocolate toxicity and dogs from For the Love of the Dog. Cat owners, you have little need to worry, it seems that cats avoid chocolate for some reason. Maybe dogs could take a lesson in this!
As a dog owner, you should know by now that your dog should not eat chocolate. It is toxic and in a large enough quantity, it can kill! So let’s talk a little about chocolate and what’s in it that’s the problem.
- The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine.
- The half life in the dog is 17.5 hours.
- The Toxic dose in the dog is 100-150 mg/kg (kilogram (kg) = 2.2 lbs, milligram(mg) = 1/1000 of a gram).
So for a 50 pound dog, a toxic dose would be roughly 2.2 grams (2200 mg) of pure chocolate. For a 10 lb dog, the toxic dose is 500mg.
However the concentration of theobromine varies with the formulation of the chocolate so:
- Milk chocolate has 44mg/oz (154mg/100gm): toxic dose for 50 lb dog – 50 oz of milk chocolate.
- Semisweet chocolate has 150 mg/oz (528mg/100gm): toxic dose for 50 lb dog – 15 oz of semisweet chocolate
- Baking chocolate 390mg/oz (1365 mg/100gm): toxic dose for 50 lb dog – 5 oz of baking chocolate
Thus a dog eating one oz of baking chocolate would have to eat almost 3 oz of semisweet or 10 oz of milk chocolate to get the same dose of theobromine.
The theobromine in candies consisting of chocolate that is coated over some other substance – as in filled candies and chocolate coated dried fruits, etc. will be more dilute than that in pure chocolate bars and solid chocolate candies.
Obviously the chocolate in milk chocolate is quite dilute and this is why many dogs can eat a piece here and there and seem not to show toxic effects, how many dogs would get ahold of 50 oz at a time? This is not true of the more concentrated forms however.
The Case of Two Dogs – In one case, there were two dogs, a 95 pound one and a 60 pound one. They got hold of 2 one pound bags of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate pieces (a bag each). The 95 pound dog survived but the 60 pound dog ingested a toxic dose.
So, a few chocolate chips won’t do ANYTHING.
Most chocolate bars won’t do much of ANYTHING
If your dog ingested the above, mostly likely they will only have the ill effects of a sore belly.
MOST dogs are eating chocolate bars which contain very little chocolate. There is however a trend to people eating more ‘real’ chocolate, a much higher danger to them.
So your best advise is to keep all chocolate away from dogs but if they do get a little, unless there are some underlying factors, there’s no need to panic. If there’s ever a question, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s not worth taking a chance.