Dogs and Chocolate

It takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine (100-150 mg/kg) to cause a toxic reaction.

There are variables to consider, such as animal size, chocolate concentration, and individual sensitivity.

On average, milk chocolate contains 44mg. of theobromine per ounce, semi-sweet chocolate contains 150 mg. per ounce, and baker's chocolate contains 390 mg. per ounce.

2 ounces of baker's chocolate can cause great risk to a 15 lb. dog. But 2 ounces of milk chocolate will only cause digestive problems.

Xanthines affect peripheral nerves, the cardiovascular system, and nervous system. It also has a diuretic effect.

Clinical signs include:

Increased heart rate
Increased urinaton
Hyper excitability
Hyper irritability
Muscle tremors

There is no specific antidote for this type of poisoning. The half life of the toxin is 17 1/2 hours in dogs. Administering activated charcoal may inhibit the absorption of the toxin. An anticonvulsant may be indicated if neurological signs are present and need to be controlled. To protect the heart, oxygen therapy, intravenous medications, and fluids may be needed.

Milk chocolate will often cause diarrhea 12 to 24 hours after being ingested. To prevent dehydration, this should be treated symptomatically (fluids, etc.).

If you think that your dog has ingested chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately to help determine the proper treatment.