This is why...
Yesterday I made cookies for Thanksgiving. A double batch of chocolate mint cookies, made with unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate morsels.
As I took them out of the oven I let them cool on the rack - pushed back on the counter.
Guess who counter surfed and ate approx 16 cookies?
I thought my son ate them. I was wrong...
The evening started nicely, Brynn settled in to sleep. Then at 11 pm, it was like someone lit a firecracker under her butt. Did you know one of the symptoms of chocolate toxicity is hyperactivity?
All the nights I spent rocking colicky babies puking in my shirt & screaming in my ear paled in comparison.
After a frantic phone call to the vet in the middle of the night he calmly talked me through figuring out approximately how many cookies were missing, the ingredients used (1 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 cup dark chocolate morsels) and helped me calculate out approximately how much Brynn had ingested. He told me I could expect many of the signs and symptoms of a large chocolate ingestion - if she gets worse I am to bring her to the vet immediately.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. Theobromine is a xanthine compound in the same family of caffeine, and theophylline. That is the bad news.
The good news is that it takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine 100-150 mg/kg to cause a toxic reaction (there are variables to consider like the individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration).
The level of theobromine and caffeine in chocolate varies between the type of chocolate, the brand and the fact that the natural occurrence of these substances in cocoa beans is variable. Broadly
- White chocolate - 1.1 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
- Milk chocolate - 64 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
- Dark sweet chocolate - 150 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
- Instant cocoa powder - 151 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
- Unsweetened baking chocolate - 440 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate; and
- Dry cocoa powder - 808 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate
The symptoms of Theobromide poisoning are numerous and they appear within a few hours or up to a day after the chocolate ingestion. Chocolate stays in the animal's stomach a long time. As the Theobromide is absorbed into the bloodstream, the animal can exhibit the following symptoms;
Increased heart rate
There is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning. The half life (the time required for half the amount of a drug to be eliminated from the body) of the toxin is 17.5 hours in dogs. If you catch it in time, 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.
If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate contact your Vet immediately! They can help you determine the the proper treatment for your pet.
References for the preceding information.
Dogs and Chocolate Toxicity
7 Questions about Dogs and Chocolate
Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
NEVER AGAIN will I make chocolate cookies...and assume they will be left unmolested on the counter.