Is chocolate toxic?
The answer is – It Could Be. It all depends on the quantity ingested.
Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine and it is this aspect of chocolate which causes the toxicity. The amount of theobromine in chocolate is directly related to the amount of chocolate liquor in the product. Chocolate liquor is the liquid that results from grinding the cacao seeds (beans). Baking chocolate has the highest percentage of chocolate liquor, then semi-sweet and dark chocolate, and milk chocolate has the least and is therefore the least toxic. The following chart illustrates the quantity of various chocolate types needed to be ingested to cause toxicity.
Signs of theobromine toxicity include: vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, tremors, seizures, and death in severe cases.
More commonly, however, pets accidentally ingesting chocolate treats like chocolate bars or a box of chocolates suffer from indigestion due to the fat and sugar content, similar to kids if they overindulge. Occasionally pancreatitis can develop which is a serious and life threatening inflammatory disease of the pancreas causing intense abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
It takes about 4 days for the effects of chocolate to get out of the dog’s system. If the chocolate was just recently eaten then it may be effective to induce vomiting. Otherwise hospitalization is needed to counter the toxicity symptoms until the chocolate has cleared the system.
So, what should you do with all your chocolate? To be on the safe side, maybe you should take all of your chocolate into the vet’s office – they’ll know what to do with it!