Chocolate

3
Very Bad

Chocolate: While the occasional chocolate chip within one cookie may not be an issue, we worry about certain types of chocolate ? the less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog. Baker's chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. Other sources include chewable, flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. The chemical toxicity is due to a methylxanthine (like theobromine), and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, inflammation of the pancreas (i.e., pancreatitis), an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and rarely, even death. Dogs make up 95% of all our chocolate calls, as cats are usually too discriminating to eat chocolate! In smaller dogs, even the wrappers from candy can result in a secondary obstruction in the stomach or intestines.

What it's in: When it comes to chocolate, it's imperative to remember this fact: Dark = dangerous! The darker the chocolate, the larger the amount of theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine, that it contains. Thus, baker's chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder and gourmet dark chocolates are more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has very little theobromine and will not cause chocolate poisoning in dogs.

Threat to dogs: It's the dose that makes the poison! Dogs that ingest a few M&Ms or 1-2 bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning.

For milk chocolate, any ingestion of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight may put dogs at risk for chocolate poisoning.

Ingestion of more than 0.13 ounces per pound of dark or semi-sweet chocolate may cause poisoning.

Almost all ingestions of baker's chocolate can result in poisoning and are considered emergencies.

Very young, geriatric, and dogs with underlying disease must be treated more conservatively as they are more at risk for poisoning than healthy adult dogs.

Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some dogs may develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate (see fatty foods).

Signs of chocolate poisoning: Ingestions of small amounts of chocolate may cause mild vomiting and diarrhea. Larger ingestions can cause severe agitation, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and collapse.

Source: Dr. Justine Lee

http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/

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The data represented on this page represents common agreed upon levels of toxicity by the internet community. While it may be factual, you should always check with your veterinarian in the case of a suspected ingestion.