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<sigh> Dogs and VERY dark chocolate?

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  • <sigh> Dogs and VERY dark chocolate?

    No. I have *not* called the vet. Both barn dogs are fine. No temp, (checked) eating/drinking/peeing/pooping.

    I did not realise the severity of the problem until right now. (after hours)

    Seems as if SOMEONE got a 85% Cocoa chocolate bar. Sometime in the last... um... 20 hours or so?

    I don't know which of the two. I don't know when. I probably won't have any evidence unless someone poops some tin foil wrapper, but it seems they mostly unwrapped it.

    Perhaps they even shared.

    The only reason I KNOW is because I went to get a piece for myself.

    These are farm dogs. They eat horse poop, dead animals, more than dead animals (decaying etc.) horse grain, beet pulp, and basically, anything that doesn't move. Well, and even some of that.

    The only option at this hour of the night is the E-Vet. No one is in any distress whatsoever.

    What should I watch for? Do I have to take them both into their regular vet at the crack of dawn?

    I've no idea what possessed one of them to get up on the computer desk. I buy ONE bar a week. Serving size is two squares, I eat ONE a day. Nibble at it for a good ten minutes.

    You know, the funny part is early this week I was worried because they were eating the 'gifts' that the (notso)IttyBitties were leaving by the door for me.

    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

  • #2
    Well, when I worked for the vet through college, he always said that an average sized dog (say 50-65 lbs) would have to eat a pound of baker's cocoa to get sick.

    Time frame obviously is prohibitive in giving peroxide to make them vomit.

    Honestly - if it was my dog, I would not worry and keep an eye on them, but I am a bit more relaxed than most owners.


    • #3
      Here's an easy to read low down on chocolate and dogs:

      Toxic Levels

      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 chocolate 390mg/oz.

      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.

      Clinical Signs

      Xanthines affect the nervous system, cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. It has a diuretic effect as well. Clinical signs:

      Hyper excitability
      Hyper irritability
      Increased heart rate
      Increased urination
      Muscle tremors


      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 the heart.

      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.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • Original Poster

        THANK YOU!!!

        Both dogs are big. 85 and 89lbs.

        Chocolate bar was... small. Well, one single bar. 2.5 oz maybe?

        Seems like it's well within the safe range.

        NO symptoms.

        As I said, I wouldn't have even known if I hadn't gone to have a square myself.

        How is it they can eat all sorts of dead, decaying, and predigested bits of stuff and be fine???

        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


        • #5
          I'm just baffled at how ANYONE could possible leave a chocolate bar laying around. And eating just one square a day???? Are you un-American or what? That sucker wouldn't be around long enough for a dog or anything else to get ahold of. If by some extreme circumstances I was able to walk away from it, it would call my name until I came back to scarf down the rest of it.

          *sigh* That's probably why I'm fat....

          Glad your pooches are fine!


          • Original Poster


            Well, I am, thankfully one of those rare female creatures who doesn't love chocolate. Nor Ice Cream.

            Don't get me wrong, I don't HATE them or anything, but I *could* live the rest of my life without them if I had to.

            Which is a good thing, because I'm diabetic.

            And trust me, when you get the 85 & 90% Cocoa varieties, you *can't* eat more than one or two squares. I actually eat one square at night because it helps with overnight blood sugar control.

            Both beasts are still fine this morning. Neither is admitting to anything.

            Damn expensive tastes though. That stuff is $2+ a bar!!
            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


            • #7
              They will be fine. My spaniel at a whole easter basket full of candy once. (he broke into the kids room while we were gone and ate the entire contents) Only problem? He sh!t out the foil that the chocolate was wrapped in for a week.
              ~Rest in Peace Woody...1975-2008~


              • #8
                I don't like chocolate much either, but I do enjoy a bite or two of very dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Milk chocolate is like eating brown wax to me, blech.
                But then I don't like sweet stuff.
                But pepperoni or chips? Mmmmm...my taste buds are weird.

                My older daughter years ago was home alone with our dog Kodi (a horrible food thief!) and she left half a package or Oreos on the counter for a few seconds and he ran by, grabbed it and wolfed it down. (he could grab things off the counter with all 4 feet o the ground, he was a big boy)
                She knew dogs shouldn't have chocolate and called the vets in a panic and told them what happened. They asked the dog's name to grab his records and then laughed at her. They said they were pretty sure a 165 lb dog and few Oreos were just fine, LOL!
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!


                • #9
                  The risk seems to mainly be that your dog might be one of the ones that's unusually sensitive. One of our previous dogs was quite large (95lbs or so - that's large for us!) and he got into a small amount of chocolate-dipped cookies, but it was enough to set him off into a seizure and then he continued to need to be on anti-seizure medications for about two years. (He seemed to grow out of it eventually.)

                  The vet's best theory was that he had a predisposition towards epilepsy/juvenile epilepsy and possibly the chocolate was just enough to tip him over the edge. (Of course, we can't know for sure that he wouldn't've had a seizure that night anyway, but he hadn't shown any signs of problems at all prior to that.)

                  So while I wouldn't rush a dog off to the emergency vet for eating a small amount of chocolate relative to their size, I probably would keep an eye on said dog and if anything strange did start to happen, off to the vet we'd go. (Our dog only survived because my mom somehow recognized that he was about to have a seizure, and so by the time it hit they were already in the car on the way to the vet, and even then it was touch and go.)


                  • #10
                    Glad to hear the dogs are fine ~
                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                    • #11
                      My coonhound has eaten as much as two pounds of milk chocolate at a time (M&M's once and Hershey Kisses another time, foil and all...), and except for barfing up the foil, it didn't cause any problems. Keep in mind, though, that this is the same moron who ate 5 lbs of UNCOOKED rice --- except for some pooh concretions, no problems. I had the same problem --- dog could have eaten the chocolate anytime in a huge time range. But he was ok, couldn't find any evidence of him being sick in the yard or house...

                      (This is also the dog who ate an entire box of crayons, box included --- found that out by the tie-dyed poop in the back yard...)

                      I'd worry about a small dog getting into chocolate, but fortunately, a big one can eat a fair amount with no real trouble.


                      • #12
                        Dogs have a sensitivity to theobromine, which is an antioxidant present in chocolate. The "candy type" chocolates have not a lot of the good stuff left in them, but the darker ones, have more antioxidants left in them hence the added risk for theobromine sensitivity for a dog.
                        Oreos, snickers etc, no problem.
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                        • #13
                          Many years ago we had a small (15 lb) terrier that was fed a Hershey bar every Sunday by Grandma when she came to visit. Dog ate the whole bar. This practice was kept up for years. Never had a problem with chocolate. In another separate story a Cocker Spaniel ate an entire pound box of Easter chocolates and was fine. It might be an individual tolerance.
                          Snowline Sport Horses
                          Breeder of Hanoverian horses


                          • #14
                            Back before the internet and before I met anyone who was fanatical about dogs and chocolate not mixing well, our dog ate a new box of baker's chocolate. So we called the vet who told us to take her outside because she would start throwing up shortly, and that she would probably shake some and be agitated like someone who had too much coffee.

                            And that's exactly what happened.

                            She LOVED chocolate. She would eat cakes and brownies off the counter if we forgot, but only chocolate stuff. Vet never said it was poisonous to her in the way I've more recently been informed. She was a 60lb Border collie.


                            • #15
                              My father's two labs ate 48 of the $1 fundraiser chocolate bars, wrappers and all. This was back in the mid 80's so the bars where much bigger then than now.

                              They were both fine. Most of the bars were milk chocolate based but there were Special Dark.
                              Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                              • #16
                                Ah, but Labs don't count! They are made of totally synthetic materials! I do love Labs, I really do, but recently saw this little quote about them and it is SO true: Lab: heart of gold, head of stone, stomach of iron. :-)


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Donkaloosa View Post
                                  Ah, but Labs don't count! They are made of totally synthetic materials! I do love Labs, I really do, but recently saw this little quote about them and it is SO true: Lab: heart of gold, head of stone, stomach of iron. :-)

                                  "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                                  • #18
                                    How is it they can eat all sorts of dead, decaying, and predigested bits of stuff and be fine???
                                    their systems are designed to handle this stuff. They swallow whole or break into swallow-able chunks anything that *may* be edible. They hold it in their acid-filled stomach for hours. The acid kills most bacteria and breaks down many toxins. If it doesn't start to break down satisfactorily in the stomach, they remove it (voluntary puking) as a now-proven to be *non edible* item.
                                    Once it's done soaking in the acid of the stomach it gets rapidly churned through the intestine, too fast for any remaining bacteria to grow and cause illness.

                                    this is totally opposite of the horse's system and very different from the human system (which is more similar to the horse): food is chewed up well, food is held in the stomach only briefly, food spends a long time in the intestine being fermented, allowing any ingested toxic bacteria to grow and make you sick.

                                    Anyway, none of that has anything to with chocoloate poisoning- dogs don't possess the enzymes necessary to rapidly break theobromine (which is similar to caffeine) down, so it just builds up in the system and the dog experiences symptoms similar to a human having a massive coffee-binge or eating cocaine.
                                    The most common DANGEROUS scenario is a small dog eating a lot of dark chocolate and then the dog goes and hides cause he feels awful and he suffers heart and neurological damage.


                                    • #19
                                      My dad fed his Terrier Smarties for oh....18 years on a regular basis.

                                      I had a babysitter who's father had hunting dogs that were fed chocolate from giant bags (like what grain comes in); daily (rejects from the Hershey factory down the road). They seemed perfectly healthy.

                                      My last Dobe ate an entire box of After Eights and I induced vomiting. Luckily he did not bother with taking them out of the wrappers....they were quite intact when they reappeared. He was fine.

                                      I think it must be somewhat rare for them to get very sick from chocolate.

                                      Glad yours are doing fine.

                                      I also do not like chocolate....I like fries and gravy. A lot. I agree with Misty about pepperoni....I eat pepperettes every single day. Yum.
                                      "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Donkaloosa View Post
                                        Ah, but Labs don't count! They are made of totally synthetic materials! I do love Labs, I really do, but recently saw this little quote about them and it is SO true: Lab: heart of gold, head of stone, stomach of iron. :-)
                                        ... Darn it, why did Pirate have to get the heart and the head from his lab side, but the stomach from elsewhere? (We think he's a Lab/Rottweiler cross, but there could be something else in there, too.)

                                        That said, his stomach only tends to revolt if there's actual proper dog food involved. Eating weird random things, trying to drink parking lot puddle water? No problem! One high end dog food to another? Upset stomach everywhere. *sigh*

                                        (Note that I do not actively let him eat weird random things or drink parking lot puddle water; the water thing happened mostly right after I first got him, when he'd start and then I'd catch him at it, before he twigged that yes, we do actually have a bowl and will find water for them when we're out someplace. He was a stray for a while, so maybe that's where he picked up the habit of drinking whatever he could find?)