Sweet, chocolatey goodness with an insanely delicious fudgy or nutty taste – brownies are the perfect dessert to make your tastebuds sing. These bowl-licking-good treats are sure to have the entire family practically wrestling each other for a bite. But can you share this delightful snack with Fido?
Pup parents love to spoil their furry friends with yummy treats. Your canine will gulp anything edible, but should you be concerned if your dog swipes clean an entire plate of brownies? Chocolate can be every dog parent’s worst nightmare. It can make your furry friend very ill and could even be fatal.
In this piece, we expound on feeding your dog foods containing chocolate. You must understand what happens if your dog eats chocolate and how to respond.
Are Brownies Good Or Bad For Dogs?
Brownies and chocolate are a match made in heaven. You can’t have one without the other. Chocolate is toxic to canines, and you need to respond quickly and aggressively if your pup has consumed even the tiniest amount.
It contains methylxanthines- caffeine and theobromine- toxic to pups when consumed in copious amounts. Humans can effectively break down these substances, but it isn’t the case with dogs.
What makes theobromine so dangerous to canines is how slowly they absorb it. Canines only reach peak serum levels after 10 hours and take 17 hours to eliminate only half of them. This means dogs are sensitive to theobromine, and the buildup of this toxin in the blood can cause many health issues in the heart, brain, muscles, kidneys, and gut.
Another reason brownies are bad for our furry friends is that the ingredients used are harmful or unhealthy to dogs. Things such as sugar, butter, and wheat flour offer no nutritional value to canines. The high fat and sugar content can lead to stomach upset or pancreatitis (painful inflammation of the pancreas).
Whether brownies will harm your canine depends on the chocolate type, the amount consumed, and the size of your canine. A huge Labrador will probably be okay after eating a small piece of brownie compared to a poodle.
Depending on the chocolate type and the amount consumed, there is a risk of chocolate poisoning. Theobromine concentration increases with increasing chocolate bitterness and darkness. The more cocoa solids in a product, the more theobromine will be present, making it more dangerous for your canine companion.
Here’s a toxicity ranking of the different types of chocolate (per ounce):
- White chocolate (least toxic): 0.25 mg of theobromine.
- Milk chocolate: 44-58 mg of theobromine.
- Gourmet dark chocolate and baking chocolate: 130-450 mg of theobromine.
Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs
Chocolate is digested more slowly in canines than in humans; therefore, symptoms may take hours to appear after it’s consumed. Your dog will not show any immediate toxicity after eating brownies, but symptoms may appear within 12 hours and last up to 72 hours.
Depending on the severity of the chocolate poisoning, signs can include:
- Muscle tremors
- Drinking more than often/urinating
- Increased heart palpitations
Canines will experience mild symptoms of chocolate poisoning when they consume 20 mg per kilogram of their body weight. Cardiac symptoms will occur at about 40 to 50 mg/kg and seizures at more than 60 mg/kg consumption.
Although the toxicity levels are given in kilograms, a low dose of theobromine for a Labrador could be exceptionally large for a Chihuahua.
For better outcomes, it’s always best to seek immediate treatment for chocolate toxicity. This is why you should contact the vet right away if your dog has consumed a brownie. Theobromine is deactivated very slowly, which means the effect of chocolate toxicity can be prolonged for up to 72 hours.
Remember that even if the amount of chocolate consumed is not enough to cause chocolate toxicity, it can still trigger gastrointestinal upsets due to the sugar, dairy, and fat content.
Are Other Brownie Ingredients Also Harmful To Dogs?
Brownies are loaded with other ingredients apart from chocolate, such as macadamia nuts, raisins, and peanut butter, for that extra yumminess. But some of these ingredients can poison your furry friend if ingested.
Here’s a rundown of the common ingredients in brownies that are harmful to canines.
A common sugar substitute used in many “healthy” and keto brownie recipes, xylitol can have devastating effects on your pup when consumed. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within 10 to 60 minutes of consumption and can be fatal if left untreated. Signs to look out for include:
If you suspect your pup has eaten anything containing xylitol, rush him to the animal clinic immediately.
Macadamia nuts are moderately toxic to pups and should be avoided. You must inform your vet if your dog has eaten a brownie with macadamia nuts. Depending on the amount consumed, symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning can range from mild tummy upset to temporary paralysis. Other signs include:
- Reluctance to walk
- Difficulty standing
Marijuana (Pot Or Weed Brownies)
Marijuana brownies will not leave your dog stoned or “high,” but it doesn’t mean you should feed them these weed treats. Pups are more sensitive to cannabis than humans, and the effects can be fatal. It’s also difficult to estimate the amount of marijuana consumed in a brownie compared to other components like chocolate.
Let your vet know if your pup ate weed brownies to prevent fatal adverse effects.
Signs of marijuana intoxication include:
- Lack of coordination
Raisins are a healthy, satisfying, and delicious addition to most brownies, but you shouldn’t feed them to your pup. Raisins or currants are dehydrated grapes, and as a responsible dog parent, you already know never to feed your canine grapes.
Grapes can cause abrupt renal failure or severe kidney damage in certain dogs. Less severe symptoms will appear within 6-12 hours of ingestion. They include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty urinating
- Mouth ulcers
- Rapid breathing
If your pup eats raisins, call your vet immediately.
Can My Dog Die From Eating Brownies?
Although unlikely, your pet may die as a result of consuming chocolate depending on the:
- The type of chocolate used for the brownies.
- Any other poisonous ingredients in the brownies.
- The size and health of your hound.
Senior dogs are more prone to signs of chocolate toxicity than younger pups. The same applies to dogs with underlying health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and kidney disease.
However, even in severe cases, most dogs recover within 24 to 48 hours and up to 72 hours for severe cases with prompt treatment.
Research shows that up to 50% of canines will die if treatment is prolonged until severe vomiting has developed. If seizures and tremors have developed, a higher percentage of canines will die from respiratory failure and heart problems.
How Many Brownies Can A Dog Eat?
Although it is not advisable, brownies can be used as a treat or training aid for your pup, depending on the type of chocolate used and the size and breed of your pup.
Every dog is different, and it can be challenging to estimate the exact amount of chocolate your dog can metabolize without any incident.
Different chocolate types contain different theobromine content and therefore have varying toxicity levels (per pound of body weight).
White chocolate: 45- 90 ounces.
Milk chocolate: 0.7- 2 ounces.
Baking chocolate: 0.1- 0.3 ounces.
Semi-sweet chocolate: ⅓-1 ounce.
On average, one brownie contains 2 ounces of milk chocolate. So feeding your pup one or two brownies can lead to health issues, especially in smaller pups with lower body weight.
My Dog Ate One Brownie. Should I Be Worried?
One brownie is unlikely to harm your pup, but every dog is different. For instance, an adult canine might not experience any adverse effects after eating a brownie. Some pups will only experience mild vomiting and tummy pain.
On the other hand, a small dog or puppy may become quite ill after consuming a brownie but will recover if they receive immediate treatment.
What If My Dog Ate A Brownie And Seems Fine?
A majority of pups can eat a brownie and still be okay. It’s the dose that makes the poison. But taking the chance and feeding your pup a brownie is not worthwhile. Chocolate poisoning is life-threatening and develops swiftly. A dog-safe alternative to chocolate which is similarly delicious but safer is carob or some high-quality dog macrons.
Help! My Dog Ate Brownies. What Now?
So your dog swiped clean an entire bag of brownies without you looking? Ignore your instinct to panic because your dog is likely to notice something is amiss. Stay calm. But you’ll need to act fast depending on how many brownies your pup consumed.
1. Move Your Dog Away From The Area
Move your dog to a separate room to prevent him from eating more while you clear the area and sort out the mess. Some canines can be territorial over their food, so do not attempt to snatch the brownies away from their mouth. You can use the “drop it” command if your pup is accustomed to it.
2. Figure Out The Quantity Consumed
Work out a rough estimate of how many brownies your Fido consumed and the type of chocolate in the brownies. Check for “total cocoa solids” on the packaging (indicated as a percentage). Alternatively, you can use a chocolate toxicity calculator to determine the extent of harm to your pup.
3. Contact Your Vet Right Away!
It’s always best to seek advice from a vet or call the Pet Poison Helpline, even if your pup had a bite-size brownie. The vet might need to know the type of chocolate consumed and the quantity, when they ate it, your pup’s age, weight, breed, and any illness or medication they are taking.
Your vet may recommend you monitor your pup at home for the clinical signs above and call back if they worsen. In other cases, the vet may prefer you bring your canine to the clinic.
Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs: Treatment
Chocolate poisoning requires immediate treatment to prevent a fatality. Treatment will depend on the type of chocolate and the amount ingested.
If your dog consumed chocolate less than two hours ago but is yet to vomit, the vet will induce vomiting using drugs such as apomorphine or oral washing soda crystal. Once the vomiting stops, several doses of activated charcoal are administered to bind the toxins to prevent their absorption into the bloodstream.
However, if your pup is already vomiting, anti-vomit drugs such as butorphanol and acepromazine may be administered first. If your dog is convulsing, general anesthesia may be given to stop the seizures, followed by general treatment.
The vet will also administer IV fluids to flush the kidneys, promote theobromine excretion and keep your pup hydrated. In severe cases, your dog will be given beta blockers. Your vet can keep Fido in the hospital for a couple of days for ongoing supportive care to monitor his health.
Brownies are delicious, crave-worthy treats that are a favorite for most people. However, you cannot share them with your canine companion. Most varieties contain chocolate which is harmful to your furry friend because of the potent toxin theobromine.
Although you cannot keep watch over Fido for 24 hours, there are measures you can take to keep chocolate brownies away from your pup. Moreover, you need to act fast if you notice your dog has eaten any treat containing chocolate for better chances of recovery and survival.