Candy chocolate is not the only danger for pets. A dog in Virginia was reported to have been fatally killed by injesting a large amount of cocoa bean mulch in his owner's yard. No studies have been conducted on this but it is a factor to consider when evaluating other cocoa bean products in your home.
We've all heard it, "Don't give your dog chocolate it will kill him". We'll how true is it you're probably wondering. Do I have to rush him to an emergency vet if he ate one of my M&M's?
The truth is chocolate contains theobromine that is toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. This is a xanthine compound in the same family of caffeine, and theophylline.
The good news is that it takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine 100-150 mg/kg to cause a toxic reaction. Although there are variables to consider like the individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration.
On average, Milk chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per oz. Semisweet chocolate contains 150mg/oz. Baker's
Using a dose of 100 mg/kg as the toxic dose it comes out roughly as: 1 ounce per 1 pound of body weight for Milk chocolate 1 ounce per 3 pounds of body weight
for Semisweet chocolate 1 ounce per 9 pounds of body weight for Baker's chocolate.
So, for example, 2 oz. of Baker's chocolate can cause great risk to an 15 lb. dog. Yet, 2 oz. of Milk chocolate usually will only cause digestive problems.
Xanthines affect the nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. It has a
diuretic effect as well. Clinical signs:
There is no specific antidote for this poisoning. And the half life of the toxin is 17.5 hours in dogs. Induce vomiting in the first 1-2 hours
if the quantity is unknown. Administering activated charcoal may inhibit absorption
of the toxin. An anticonvulsant might be indicated if neurological signs are present and needs
to be controlled. Oxygen therapy, intravenous medications, and fluids might be needed to protect
Milk chocolate will often cause diarrhea 12-24 hours after ingestion. This should be treated
symptomatically (fluids, etc..) to prevent dehydration.
If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate contact your Vet immediately! They can help you determine the the proper treatment for your pet.