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Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

How many times have you been eating that chocolate chip cookie when you look over and see those sad puppy Pomeranian Puppy  eyes staring at you?  You remember hearing that chocolate is toxic to dogs.  But what makes chocolate toxic to dogs and why is it that some dogs ingest it and donít get sick?  Here are some facts to clear up some of the confusion surrounding chocolate toxicity in dogs. 

 Chocolate can indeed be toxic to dogs.  In fact, it is one of the 20 most reported poisonings.  The ingredient in chocolate that causes the toxicity is theobromine.  The minimum toxic level of theobromine is 100-200mg/kg with 250-500mg/kg being the level at which half of the dogs would die as a result of consuming chocolate.  So what does that mean as far as how much chocolate is toxic?  The level of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate.  The levels of theobromine are listed below:

Milk chocolate 60 mg/oz
Baking chocolate 450 mg/oz
Semi-sweet chocolate 260 mg/oz
Hot chocolate 12 mg/oz
White chocolate 1 mg/oz
Given these levels, 4 oz of milk chocolate contains about 240mg of theobromine. Considering that the average chocolate bar contains 2-3 oz of milk chocolate, it would take 2-3 candy bars to produce toxicity in a 10 lb dog.    However, a single ounce of baking chocolate could produce severe toxicity in the same size dog.

So, how does chocolate make dogs sick?  Theobromine causes the release of certain substances, norepinephrine and epinephrine, that cause an increase in the dogís heart rate and can cause arrhythmias.  Other signs seen with chocolate toxicity can include increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea or hyperactivity within the first few hours.  This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.

 What should be done if a Pomeranian Puppy  does ingest a toxic amount of chocolate?  If it has been less than 2 hours, the Pomeranian Puppy  should be made to vomit.  Unfortunately, chocolate tends to form a ball in the stomach and may be difficult to remove.  Supportive care should be provided for any other signs the Pomeranian Puppy  is exhibiting.

The naturally occurring the obromine found in chocolate, cocoa beans, cocoa bean hulls, cola, and tea, is responsible for the poisoning effect in dogs.  Dogs are unable to metabolize this element quickly enough to prevent poisoning.  The lethal dose of this agent is determined by weight and falls roughly into the category of 250-500 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.  This equates to approximately 2/3 to 1 1/3 oz bakers chocolate for every 2.2 pounds though signs of poisoning begin to appear at a much lower ingestion levels.  Please see chart below for breakdown of the obromine levels by chocolate type.

Dogs have a sweet-tooth but it is our responsibility to keep our  Pomeranian Puppies companions safe.  Never give chocolate as a treat and keep it well out of reach of interested muzzles.  Keep unsweetened chocolate and other chocolate based baking supplies in tightly closed containers in high cupboards.  Be aware of holiday sweets- box of chocolates under the tree, gold foil coins left on the floor from a game, etc and keep them safely out of paws way.  A tiny bit of precaution can ensure a safer holiday for the WHOLE family.