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Chocolate NOT for dogs & cats

Photo Credit Andrew S Unspalsh

We all love the cats and dogs who live with us, and we do our best to ensure that they are safe.

It is important to be clear that chocolate is not safe for dogs and cats.

The BCSPCA has made this important understanding very straight-forward in this article from their website, March 3, 2021:

spca bc ca news chocolate toxic dog

Most humans love indulging in their favourite chocolate treat but unfortunately, ingesting chocolate can result in significant illness for your dog. Chocolate is toxic for your dog because it contains both caffeine and a chemical called theobromine; two chemicals that dogs cannot metabolize as well as humans.

Which types of chocolate are more toxic for your dog?

The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your dog. This is because dark chocolate and baking chocolate contains more theobromine per ounce.

The list below includes the estimated amounts of theobromine in each type of chocolate in milligrams (mg) per ounce (oz) from highest to lowest.

Cacao beans: 300-1500 mg/oz.

Cocoa powder: 400-737 mg/oz.

Unsweetened baking chocolate: 390-450 mg/oz.

Dark chocolate: 135-450 mg/oz.

Milk chocolate: 44-60 mg/oz.

White chocolate: 0.25 mg/oz.

It should be noted that while white chocolate contains very little theobromine per ounce, your dog can still get sick from the sugar and fat content as well as the caffeine, so you shouldn’t feed any chocolate to your canine friend.

How your dog’s weight plays a role

Chocolate is toxic for your dog no matter what. However, your dog’s weight is also an important factor to consider along with the type and amount of chocolate eaten. For example, a 10-pound dog that eats a smaller amount of dark chocolate may experience more severe signs compared to a 50-pound dog who eats the same amount.

There are a number of chocolate toxicity calculators available online to determine toxicity based on your dog’s weight and amount of chocolate ingested.

In addition to the chocolate itself, other ingredients that can be found in chocolate bars and other goodies – like raisins, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and caffeine – are also toxic to dogs, so it’s a good idea to always be cautious whenever you’re consuming any chocolate treat within close proximity to your dog.

Chocolate is also toxic to cats for the same reasons it’s harmful for dogs — they cannot metabolize theobromine. Cats are less likely to eat human foods like dogs do — in fact many find chocolate unpalatable – however, to be safe, keep chocolate far away from your cat as it can be lethal for them.

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