There’s a heated debate amongst foodies about whether or not white chocolate is considered chocolate. White chocolate lovers say yes, of course it is chocolate, but chocolate snobs are adamant it isn’t. Whatever your stance is, it doesn’t matter when it comes to your dog’s health. The biggest question is: Is white chocolate dangerous for your dog?
[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=”What Makes Chocolate Toxic?”]
The actual “toxin” in chocolate is a chemical called theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant similar to caffeine, and in human medicine, it’s used as a heart diuretic, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant.
However, dogs aren’t able to process theobromine like humans can, so in large enough doses, it’s dangerous for them. Theobromine toxicity presents as:
- Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea
- Agitation, hyperactivity
- High blood pressure
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle tremors, twitching
Of all of the types of chocolate, dark/baker’s chocolate has the highest amount of theobromine with 130-140 mg per ounce of chocolate. Milk chocolate has 44-58 mg per ounce.
Fatalities typically occur when dogs eat 100mg/pound (estimated), although 20 mg/pound is enough to show signs of toxicity.
Is White Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?
White chocolate contains theobromine, but the amount per ounce is so low that an average sized dog would have to eat a significant amount of white chocolate to get sick. White chocolate contains 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate.
If a 30-pound dog ate white chocolate, they would have to eat more white chocolate than they could physically eat to get sick.
What Could Happen if My Dog Eats White Chocolate?
Theobromine toxicity is unlikely, but white chocolate is very high in fat. If your dog eats more than a few ounces of it, it’s likely they’re going to experience gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea and vomiting.
Pancreatitis is also a possibility. The pancreas becomes painfully inflamed when it’s overloaded with fat. Pancreatitis can be fatal if it isn’t treated medically. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Painful abdomen where your dog walks with a hunched back or won’t let you touch them
- No appetite
- Restless (because of the pain)
- Vomiting or nausea
Treatment for pancreatitis includes fluid therapy, pain control, and no food by mouth until the pancreas becomes less inflamed. Unfortunately, dogs that have pancreatitis once are more likely to get it again, so these dogs have to stay on a low-fat diet for the rest of their life to prevent another bout.
Should I Call My Vet if My Dog Eats White Chocolate?
Yes. If your dog eats any amount of white chocolate, call your vet. Again, while theobromine isn’t a concern, pancreatitis and digestive upset are, and it’s possible your vet will want to induce vomiting if your dog ate enough.
White chocolate isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as dark or milk chocolate, but you should still take safety measures and keep it stored where your dog can’t have access to it.