We all love that comfy melting taste of brown or milk chocolate; it’s irresistible even to your dog. Who doesn’t love that gracious brown goodness any day? We even use them as gifts to our friends and loved ones who are celebrating a landmark event or going through an emotional moment. The health benefits of dark chocolates are widely known, especially when it comes to its effect on your heart. Recent research shows they may even help to boost your performance. So, go dark, for your heart! Studies show that a daily square of dark chocolates can improve your heart’s health, thanks to its flavanols, which serve as antioxidants. One study from 2010 showed that a small dose could decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 40 percent.
However, we are sorry to inform you that chocolate isn’t good for your dog. In fact, it is very harmful to your canine friend because it is easier for humans to metabolize theobromine than it is for dogs. Theobromine is the toxic component in chocolate, especially the dark ones, which are normally considered to contain a higher level.
While chocolate is poisonous to dogs, its hazard depends on the type, the amount consumed and your dog’s size. In large enough amounts, it can kill your dog. This is also true of other cocoa products.
How Chocolate Affects Dogs
- The toxic component is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
- A large dog can consume more than a small dog can before suffering ill effects.
- A small amount will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
- With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.
Different types of chocolates have different theobromine levels
Cocoa, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk and white chocolate have the lowest. However, the high level of theobromine in dark chocolates means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.
So if you are dealing with a case of chocolate intake whether small or large, the first treatment is to induce vomiting in your dog. On a flip side, a single piece should not be a problem. A single piece doesn’t contain a large enough theobromine dosage to harm your dog, but if you suspect that your dog has eaten much of it, quickly see the vet before the signs of poisoning start to manifest.
Here are links to sites where you can find useful tips for your dog’s health.
“Is Chocolate Good for You? The Health Benefits of Chocolate.” BulletProof (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Robbins, Roni. “What to Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate.” WebMD (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 12 May 2016.
Lee, Yishanne. “How Much Chocolate Do You Need to Eat for Health Benefits?” Runner’s World (2016): n. pag. Web. 12 May 2016.