What Amount of Chocolate Cake Will Cause Toxicity in a Dog?
There are many different treats that are classified as “chocolate” with different percentages of the cacao component that contains theobromine. You have probably heard of white, milk, and dark chocolate, as well as cocoa powder. These contain different levels of the cacao component mixed with other ingredients, such as sugar and oil, to make the final product. White chocolate will have a very low cacao concentration and contains and only trace amounts of theobromine. If your dog eats this type of chocolate, the worst they’ll probably have to face is an upset stomach!
Milk chocolate and dark chocolate contain a much higher percentage of cacao and will have a higher concentration of theobromine. A commercial milk chocolate bar will contain around 2 milligrams of theobromine per gram, while dark chocolate can contain close to 9 milligrams per gram. The lowest recorded toxic dose of theobromine in a dog is 7 mg of theobromine per pound of bodyweight of a dog (16 mg/kg). Whether your dog gets sick or not from eating chocolate is dependent on the type of chocolate, their bodyweight, and how much chocolate was consumed. For a 50-pound (23 kg) dog, it will take just under one and a half ounces (40 g) of dark chocolate to reach the toxic dose. For a 30-pound (13 kg) dog, roughly half of that amount can cause toxic effects.
Cocoa powder, which is often used in baking, also contains high quantities of theobromine – sometimes higher than dark chocolate. Depending on the brand, cocoa powder can contain from 100 mg of theobromine per ounce, making it one of the most poisonous types of chocolate out there.
Why Is Chocolate Poisonous to Dogs?
It is commonly known that chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and can be deadly. People can eat lots of chocolate without anything more than a slight stomach-ache. So why is it that chocolate kills dogs?
Chocolate is made from cacao beans which contain a compound called theobromine. This compound is not lost during the processing of the bean. Humans are able to digest theobromine quickly while, in dogs, it can linger in the body long enough to exert its toxic effects. Theobromine mainly targets the nervous system in dogs, causing hyperexcitability, muscle twitches, and seizures. This can progress very quickly to cardiovascular dysfunction and death when too much theobromine is consumed.
What does chocolate do to dogs?
Chocolate poisoning mainly affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms of dogs eating chocolate usually occur between four and 24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate.
The effect and signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs depends on the amount eaten and the size of the breed. For example, a Labrador-sized dog that’s eaten 200g of milk chocolate is likely to have a stomach upset such as vomiting and diarrhoea. At 500g, it’s likely that cardiovascular problems and increased heart rate will be seen. Eating 750g may result in seizures.
How long after eating chocolate will a dog get sick?
What do I do if my dog ate cake?