What if my dog eats Chocolate Ice Cream?

If you want your little pooch to share your love for cocoa – think again! Unlike humans, chocolate can be poisonous – even fatal, for dogs. While your dog may temporarily relish in the sweetness, there is a high chance they will regret later.

Here’s what you need to know about when (and why) chocolate is harmful for your canine friend!

Why is Chocolate Ice Cream Toxic for Dogs?

Presence of Theobromine

Chocolate is like toxin for dogs – even in small amounts. Why? Because chocolate contains theobromine – a type of methylxanthine found in cocoa. And unfortunately, dogs are not able to metabolise the chemical in the same way as humans.

Theobromine – which is similar to caffeine, is no friend of your dog. As it can be harmful for its stomach, heart, and the central nervous system. This is because theobromine dilates blood vessels – leading to an over-stimulation of the heart.

Contains Milk & Sugar

Chocolate ice cream also contains milk, which can cause gastrointestinal issues. Leading your dog to show symptoms of diarrhea such as vomiting. As a milk-based product, chocolate ice cream can also lead to allergic skin reactions in your dog such as excessive itching or urine retention.

In addition, chocolate ice cream also contains a large amount of sugar. And just like in the case of humans, an excessive amount of sugar is harmful – and might even cause your dog to become diabetic in later years.

Even though chocolate is harmful for most dogs, the chances of it being fatal are rare. For instance, according to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, out of 1,000 chocolate toxicity cases reported in their database, only a total of five dogs died.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

If you are afraid your dog has consumed one too many dollops of chocolate ice cream, you should study them for at least 8 hours. Keep in mind, symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually occur between the first four and 24 hours.

See also  English Cream Golden Retriever - Everything You Want to Know

During this time, you need to check for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting (including blood vomiting)
  • Restlessness or rapid breathing
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Shivering
  • Body tremors
  • Muscle rigidity or lack of muscle coordination
  • Excessive peeing
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Allergic reactions such as itching.
  • Advanced symptoms (Cardiac failure or coma)

What To Do If your Dog has Ingested Chocolate Ice Cream?

  • Try to figure out how much chocolate your dog has eaten. You can study the list of ingredients provided on the wrapper to determine the exact amount or quantity.
  • Take a note of your dog’s weight – and use an online chocolate toxicity calculator to see if your dog has consumed a safe or poisonous amount.
  • Call your vet if you are afraid your dog has eaten an amount you think may be poisonous.
  • Alternatively, take your dog to the veterinary clinic for an in-person examination.
  • For at least 24 hours, thoroughly observe your dog to see if it shows any symptom(s) associated with chocolate poisoning (see above).

Factors Affecting the Health Outcomes

Is chocolate equally bad for ALL dogs? The short answer is no. There are actually a number of different factors that will decide how badly a dog reacts to chocolate ice cream. Some of these are:

The Size of Your Dog

Smaller dogs are more vulnerable to chocolate poisoning. If your dealing with a small Chihuahua or a baby pup, you might wanna be extra careful!

So for an average-sized Labrador, a 200g of milk chocolate can lead to vomiting or an upset stomach. However, if you increase this number to 600g for the same dog, it can lead to more advanced symptoms such as cardiovascular problems.

Amount or Dosage

The intensity of symptoms shown by your dog is linked to the amount or dosage of chocolate it consumed.

Generally speaking, one ounce of chocolate per pound of dog’s weight is defined as the upper limit of safe consumption.

See also  Why Does My Dog Stand On His Back Legs?

Use this awesome online tool to find out if a certain dosage may be poisonous for your dog @DogChocolateToxicityMeter

Type of Chocolate

Some types of chocolate are more likely to result in negative health health consequences. For instance, dark chocolate may be more dangerous as it tends to have a higher level of theobromine than milk chocolate.

Here’s a list of the different types of chocolate alongside the concentration of theobromine in them:

  • White chocolate – 1mg/ounce
  • Milk chocolate – 60mg/ounce
  • Semi-sweet chocolate – 260mg/ounce
  • Dark chocolate – 300mg/ounce
  • Baking chocolate – 450mg/ounce
  • Cocoa shell yard mulch – 300-1200mg/ounce

Pre-existing health conditions

If your dog is already suffering from pre-existing health conditions (say, gastrointestinal issues), it may be more susceptible to symptoms of chocolate poisoning.

Substitutes for Chocolate Ice Cream

We know it’s hard to resist those sweet puppy eyes looking for a bite of chocolatey goodness – but here’s what you can feed your dog instead of chocolatey treats:

  • Frozen strawberries
  • Watermelons
  • Bananas
  • Peanut butter
  • Flavored pupsicles

The Bottomline…

By and large, when it comes to the dog-kind, chocolate is a big No-No. Even a small amount such as a single lick off a wrapper can be detrimental – especially for the smaller puppies.

That said, whether or not their health or life is in danger will depend on factors such as the type and amount of chocolate consumed – or the size of the breed. With the right precautions and a timely trip to the vet, there is =a good chance that you will be able to treat most symptoms of chocolate poisoning.

At FluffyPlanet, we hope to give you the right advice and information to keep your beloved pets safe, healthy and happy! To tell us about your past experiences as a pet-parent, feel free to share in the comments section below!

Photo of author

Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!