Everyone likes to have a piece of chocolate once in a while. And you want to treat your dog to something special now and then. But no matter how pleading the dog looks, chocolate is taboo! Because while snacking only leads to unwanted padding in humans, it can be fatal for dogs.
The cocoa in chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is toxic to dogs, depending on their weight and the amount ingested. Depending on the type of chocolate, the theobromine content varies. White chocolate is given as 0.009 mg/g, dark chocolate can contain up to 16 mg/g, and cocoa powder even up to 26 mg/g. A bar (100 g) of dark chocolate contains around 1,600 mg (i.e. 1.6 g) of theobromine.
Small dogs and puppies are particularly at risk
In contrast to humans, dogs can only slowly break down theobromine due to their different metabolism, which can lead to accumulations in the blood. In sensitive dogs, a dose of 90 to 250 mg per kg of body weight can be lethal for the dog. With a consumption of 300 mg, the so-called 50 percent lethal dose is already reached. This means that half of all dogs will die from ingesting this amount. This dose is already reached or exceeded with a bar of dark chocolate if the dog weighs around 5.5 kilograms or less. Smaller dog breeds as well as puppies and young dogs are, therefore, particularly at risk.
But repeated intake of small amounts of products containing cocoa or chocolate can also lead to symptoms of poisoning with symptoms such as restlessness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, cramps, diarrhea, and fever. Deaths are mostly due to cardiovascular failure.
Chocolate must be out of reach for dogs
Enjoying chocolate usually becomes a problem when the dog secretly and uncontrollably nibbles on chocolate lying around. Chocolate must therefore always be kept out of the reach of dogs. If a tricky dog does steal a piece of chocolate, it won’t die right away. But with larger amounts, the veterinarian should be consulted immediately, as there is a risk of acute poisoning. The first signs of this are nausea, vomiting, nervousness, and tremors. Incidentally, theobromine is completely harmless to humans.