A simple answer to the question ‘can dogs eat chocolate’ would be an emphatic ‘no’. However, it is also important to know how serious this problem is and the steps that should be taken if a dog eats chocolate. Chocolate poisoning in dogs is caused by an adverse reaction to the chemical theobromine that is present in chocolate. Humans can digest this chemical and so they go unscathed but dogs lack the necessary enzymes and cannot process it, which is why this chemical gets absorbed by their bloodstream. This is a serious medical problem and the dog will need to be taken to the vet right away. A dog digests chocolate very slowly and so it may seem to have little or no effect on him for quite a few hours which may fool people into believing that their dog is not affected by the chocolate he has eaten. Delaying treatment can even lead to death.
In the case of canine or dog chocolate poisoning, vomiting is necessary in order to expel the chocolate that has been consumed. If the dog has recently consumed chocolate, the vet will induce vomiting which will greatly reduce the level of theobromine poisoning. The first symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs are abdominal distress and vomiting. If you are not sure of whether your dog has eaten chocolate, examine the contents he has brought up. A dog with chocolate poisoning will vomit up food and liquid that has brown streaks and smells of chocolate. He may even suffer from convulsions and in such a case general anesthesia would be required in order to stop the seizures. Once dog vomiting has stopped, he will be given activated charcoal tablets. Activated charcoal is an intestinal adsorbent and this prevents the adsorption of the chocolate that is already present in the intestines.
In cases where a dog has licked a chocolate wrapper, he may suffer from little or no side effects as the amount consumed was rather insignificant. So how much and when is consuming chocolate toxic for dogs? The amount of chocolate that can trigger chocolate poisoning in dogs will depend on the size of the dog. It has been seen that 130mgof chocolate per kg of the dog’s weight is enough to lead to a fatality. This would mean that a piece of dark chocolate that is about 6 ounces can actually kill a 20kg dog. Dark chocolate contains more theobromine as compared to white chocolate and so a small quantity of dark chocolate can cause chocolate poisoning in dogs.