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The Danger of Chocolate
Question:  Dear Hobo - I have heard that you are a chocolate freak.  Isn't that harmful to dogs.

Answer:  Yep - I don't recommend chocolate for dogs.  In fact, you can get pretty sick or maybe even die if you eat chocolate.  It is our owners who should be responsible to keep chocolate out of our reach.  My dad made the mistake of buying the so called safe doggy chocolates when I was still young.  The result was that I developed a taste for chocolate and I love the smell.  Some of you may recall that I ate a whole box of chocolates one day and lived to tell the story.  I got a little upset to my tummy.  I was lucky, I read about a golden retriever who ate a box of chocolates and died the same day.  Here is some more information:

    Theobromine, an ingredient found in chocolate, is toxic to dogs. It is very much like caffeine in chemical structure.  Actually, the name is misleading, there is no bromine in theobromine.  This stuff comes as a chemical found in cocoa.  It can be removed, much like caffeine can be removed from coffee.  Maybe that's what they do to the doggy chocolates?  My bet is that this stuff is what makes people almost get addicted to chocolate (just a guess).

    What happens when your dog gets chocolate?  Well, he may exhibit the following: vomiting, diarrhea. hyperactivity. seizures, muscle tremors and maybe even coma or death.

    If you suspect your canine friend has eaten some chocolate and are worried - the best thing is to get to a vet.  There is no specific cure for chocolate poisoning (if that is the right word).  The idea is first to get the chocolate out of him.  If it has been less than two hours you can induce vomiting.  But if you know he has eaten a lot of chocolate - get to the vet.  His vital functions might have to be supported.  Chocolate can melt into a ball like substance and stay in his tummy for a long time and may not come out with vomiting.

    You may ask how I lived through the whole experience.  One reason is that the chocolate I ate was a candy type chocolate.  Milk chocolate, as can be seen above, is a lot less harmful.  Also, many of the candies were filled with stuff like cherries - so I didn't get pure chocolate.  The un-sweetened chocolate or semi sweet are both stronger.  Even if the box were pure chocolate, I got about half the lethal dose. If you are baking with the un-sweetened chocolate, you should know that even a small amount is like poison to a dog.

    Some people think that the size of the dog and the amount ingested is what determines how sick they get.  I don't know, I think it depends on the dog.  The reason I say this is because some dogs get sick on just a little chocolate.  My dad had a big dog who ate one piece and was sick for a whole day.  Here is a chart that tells you how much will almost certainly make you very sick:

Dogs weight 
Milk Chocolate
Ounces or lbs/ gms
Unsweetened Chocolate Ounces/gms Mg Theobromine
5 / 2.24 ounces / 113.40.5  / 14.1200
10 / 4.58 ounces / 226.41.0 / 28.3400
20 / 91 pound / 453.62.5 / 70.8900
30 / 13.62.0 pound / 907.23.25 / 92.11300
40 / 182.5 pounds / 11344.5 / 127.51800
50 / 22.63.0 pounds / 13605.5 / 1562250
60 / 27.24.0 pounds / 18147.0 / 198.42700
70 / 31.75.0 pounds / 22688.5 / 240.93400