So you’ve been reading up on the many dangers of chocolate to humans, but your pup doesn’t get the same treatment? Does that mean you can still feed your dog chocolate? The answer is, unfortunately, no. While dogs can eat certain amounts of chocolate without any adverse effects, too much of it can be harmful to them. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why chocolate is toxic to dogs, and what you can do to keep your furry friend safe from the risks.
Why do Dogs React to Chocolate?
The reason why chocolate is toxic to dogs is that it contains a substance called Theobromine, which is a stimulant. Stimulants are what give certain foods like coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate their addictive properties. For this reason, when you’re baking a cake you might use a little bit of coffee as a substitute for some of the flour. But when you’re making a treat for your dog, you want different results: you don’t want your dog addicted to your treats!
For this reason, many commercial treats contain only trace amounts of theobromine and are safe for dogs to eat. Unfortunately, most of the food that you’ll find in the store is not “made for dogs.” In fact, most of the food that most people feed their dogs is also not made for dogs. Instead, it’s made to taste good and make your pet love you more.
Unfortunately, many of the “treats” on the market today are filled with additives, preservatives, and other chemicals that are harmful to your pet. These additives can cause a myriad of problems in your dog, like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, increased urination, excessive licking, and more.
How is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?
Theobromine is found in many plants like cacao beans, tea, yerba maté, and guarana. These plants have been around for centuries, and are used for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Theobromine, however, is easily toxic to dogs when consumed in large quantities. According to the ASPCA, one of the main reasons why chocolate is toxic to dogs is because it’s very sweet. This makes it highly appealing to dogs that are used to getting a smaller amount of sweetness from their food. Another reason why chocolate is toxic to dogs is because of the calories it contains. Just one ounce of chocolate contains roughly 23 calories, which is much more than what your dog needs to survive. Calorie intake should be kept lower than 15% of your dog’s caloric intake, which is approximately 35 calories per day for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight.
How much chocolate is too much?
The amount of chocolate that is toxic to dogs can vary from one individual to another. That’s because each dog has their own unique nutritional needs and requirements. For this reason, the ASPCA recommends that your dog only eats treats on special occasions. The best way to celebrate these occasions is to feed your dog treats that are low in calories, high in nutritional content, and made for dogs. Treats like healthy dog dry dog treats, small bites cookies, and much more will keep your dog happy, healthy, and safe.
The worst kinds of chocolate for dogs
According to the ASPCA, there are several horrible types of chocolate that are especially toxic to dogs.
- Bittersweet chocolate (This type of chocolate contains 64% sugar, 25% cocoa solids, and 5% bittersweet chocolate liquor. It’s also high in calories, high in fat, and loaded with preservatives.)
- Dark chocolate (This type of chocolate is processed with fat in order to make it look like unprocessed “raw” chocolate, but it contains the same amount of theobromine as other dark chocolates.)
- French-fried chocolate (This type of chocolate is formed into bars and sold in bags as dog treats. It’s often made with wheat flour and potato starch, which are both unappetizing to dogs.)
The 8 Major Components of Chocolate That Are Toxic to Dogs
- Milk fat – This is found in milk chocolate and white chocolate. Because milk fat is toxic to dogs, it’s usually not included in dark chocolates.
- Cocoa solids – This is usually the main ingredient in theobromine-containing chocolates, but it’s also found in some other types of chocolates.
- Cocoa liquor – This is found in all types of chocolate, but it’s not toxic to dogs.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract is not toxic to dogs.
- Soy lecithin – Soy lecithin is sometimes added to dog treats to make them more palatable to humans, but it’s not toxic to dogs. – – Salt – Salt is not toxic to dogs.
Tips for Safely Feeding Your Dog Chocolate
- Only feed your dog “treats” that are low in calories, high in nutritional content, and made for dogs.
- Make sure to read the label (or ask your vet) before giving your dog any new treat.
- Make sure that your dog has plenty of water available while they’re eating their treat.
- Don’t give your dog chocolate while they’re fasting (water only) or drinking tea or coffee.
- Don’t give your dog chocolate that has been lying around for a while (it’s best if you keep it in a container that’s closed tightly).
- Don’t give your dog chocolate if they’re not in good health — their behavior should be normal and they shouldn’t be vomiting, passing blood in their urine, etc.
If you’ve read this far, then you know the dangers of feeding your dog chocolate. But don’t despair! There are many alternatives out there that are safe for your pups. The best thing you can do is switch to low-calorie treats that are made specifically for dogs. And make sure to keep your chocolate in a secure container so that your dog doesn’t accidentally eat it.