Chocolate Series: Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

As a chemist, there are a few things I am good at. One is research, the other is chemistry (obviously). I love researching and digging into anything and everything I find an interest in. It could be something scientific, or it could be something like the best face wash under $10. Either way, I enjoy it! One of my plans for this blog and my academic business is to share information I know or neat ideas I learn with others. So, I will be starting a little lesson series on research that I have conducted in any given area, and sharing it with you! Now, don’t worry, this is fun stuff! Maybe it is just some fun facts, or maybe it is the best way to grow a rose, or perhaps it is something about baking…the possibilities are endless. First up, is a series on chocolate!

Chocolate Series volume1Chocolate is one of my favorite things, and it is absolutely fascinating. It has many chemicals that comprise it, and many purposes. This series will contain some great facts on chocolate including baking aspects, health benefits, and more. Volume 1: Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

lesson1.1I am an expert in all things chemistry, and in particular chocolate! I did my final research in college over the chemistry of chocolate and learned some awesome things about this chemical.

We all know that chocolate is bad for dogs. You have heard it your entire life. What I never knew was why is that? Well, I will tell you.

Chocolate contains two main chemicals: caffeine and theobromine. The culprit for dogs is theobromine which is a methylxanthine. Big words I know. But basically dogs cannot break down methylxanthines, whereas, humans can break it down and excrete it efficiently.

There are two key factors in how chocolate effects your dog:

1. Type of chocolate
2. Weight of your dog

Here is a quick reference in order from HIGHEST amount of theobromine to LEAST amount:

  • Dry cocoa powder
  • Baker’s chocolate
  • Semi sweet & dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate (which basically has no theobromine)

The smaller your dog, the more likely they will be effected by chocolate. So, if you have a 10 lb dog that ingests some chocolate, they will be more susceptible to toxicity. For a quick reference on dog weight, check out this great link: Chocolate Toxicity Table

As always, consult with your vet if your dog accidentally eats some chocolate…better safe than sorry!

**I am not a veterinary expert, but I am a chemical expert. I also own dogs so this is my personal and chemistry background. Always check with a vet if your dog has symptoms or if they may be in danger of toxicity.

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