They say that you are hurt by the ones you love the most. We never imagined a world where this would apply to chocolate, but that is sadly the world man’s best friend lives in. Weighing in at just under 7 pounds, the beloved Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie packs a punch in terms of personality and cuteness. However, just like its canine brethren, it is helpless against the goodness that is chocolate. And no, not in a good way either.
The smallest terrier breed can’t live without chocolate (who can?), and they can’t live with it either. Curious to know how this works? Keep reading to learn why chocolate is bad for Yorkshire Terriers and what to do if a Yorkie eats chocolate.
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Yorkshire Terrier and Chocolate: Friend or Foe?
We need to go really deep into the anatomy of chocolate to find out why a Yorkshire and chocolate bar do not go together. Chocolate, derived from the cocoa plant, contains a substance called theobromine. This is the real culprit behind chocolate poisoning.
Theobromine is a stimulant that is similar to caffeine (which chocolate contains too) and acts on the central nervous system. Basically, it serves to “excite” or speed up bodily functions. However, don’t be fooled. This doesn’t mean that your Yorkie will suddenly become the next Usain Bolt. It’ll only increase their heart rate, breathing rate, muscle activity, and so on.
Dogs’ metabolism can’t process theobromine or caffeine for that matter. Therefore, it’s not a simple in and out process. The substance builds up in dogs’ systems, causing chocolate poisoning. The most dangerous part is that these toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream, which makes it difficult to get them out. Large quantities of these stimulants may then lead to seizures or heart attacks.
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Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms in Yorkies
If a woman is upset and you throw chocolate at her, you get a happy woman. If a Yorkie is upset and you throw chocolate at it, you get a medical emergency. However, you won’t always catch your Yorkie eat chocolate because they’re experts in crime scene getaways. In that case, here are some red flags of chocolate ingestion you should be aware of:
- Increased pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or peeing
- Panting or shaking
- Muscle stiffness or tremors
- Low blood pressure
- Seizures or heart attack (in severe cases)
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Best and Worst Chocolates for Yorkies
All chocolates are not created equal. No one wants to believe something as delicious as Oreos are bad for dogs, but most of the goodies we love to eat aren’t the best sustenance for our furry friends. Different chocolates have different toxicity levels, depending on the amount of theobromine and caffeine they contain. Since theobromine is the primary toxin in chocolate, any chocolate that has more theobromine is worse for dogs. Here are common forms of chocolate and the amount of theobromine they contain:
- 1 oz Cocoa powder = 283 mg (the most toxic form of chocolate)
- 1 oz Unsweetened baking chocolate= 214 mg
- 1 oz Dark chocolate= 130 mg
- 1 oz Milk chocolate= 58 mg
- 1 oz White chocolate= 0.25 mg (the least toxic form of chocolate, though it should still be avoided as it may cause a “sugar-high”)
This seems like a lot of information, but it’ll make sense in a minute. Most Yorkshire terriers weigh around 7 lbs, which means that they display symptoms of chocolate toxicity after consuming only a small amount of chocolate. For reference, an average Yorkie would be in danger of severe poisoning if they consumed just one ounce of cocoa powder or baking chocolate!
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A Dog’s Chocolate Toxicity Checklist
A chocolate toxicity meter such as that on PetMD’s website is a great place to start if you saw your Yorkie eat chocolate or if they’re displaying any of the symptoms described above. You can input your dog’s weight and the type and amount of chocolate consumed to get an idea of how bad chocolate poisoning is. However, your first priority should be getting in touch with your vet and taking your Yorkie to see them if they advise so.
A vet will conduct a physical examination and tests to determine whether a theobromine or caffeine overdose has occurred. These tests may include:
- chemical blood profile
- electrolyte panel
- ECG to determine any heart abnormalities
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How Much Chocolate Can a Yorkie Get Away With Eating
You can think of a Yorkie’s relationship with chocolate like a human’s relationship with alcohol. While one person can drink a couple of glasses and barely feel a buzz, another could be blackout drunk on the same amount. The same goes for Yorkies who eat chocolate.
A dog chocolate ingestion chart will tell you that your dog’s poisoning depends on the dog’s weight, health, and the particulars of the chocolate eaten. We’ve already established that white chocolate is the least, while cocoa powder is the most dangerous type of chocolate. But exactly what dosage of chocolate is toxic for Yorkies who ate chocolate? Good question.
- Under 20 mg: This will usually result in diarrhea, an upset stomach, etc.
- 20 to 40 mg: May cause problems, especially for breeds that weigh less like the Yorkshire Terrier.
- 40 to 60 mg: Signs of moderate poisoning such as panting or shaking may be visible.
- 60 to 200 mg: A Yorkie will usually display complications like uncontrolled muscle movement and other neurological abnormalities.
- 200 mg or more: This amount is very dangerous and may prove to be fatal.
Generally speaking, mild symptoms of chocolate poisoning occur when a dog eats 20 mg of theobromine or caffeine per kilogram (2.2. lbs) of body weight. This means eating just 9 mg of theobromine per lb of body weight will cause mild poisoning. For average Yorkies, that translates to a total of only 63 mg of theobromine. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity that involve the heart occur around 40 to 50 mg/kg (21 mg/lb). Dosages higher than 60 mg/kg (27 mg/lb) will typically induce seizures.
To put it in context, a Yorkie that weighs 5 lbs need only eat 6 g of baking chocolate and a Yorkie that weighs 10 lbs need only eat 12 g of baking chocolate to experience severe symptoms. That’s less than one tablespoon of baking chocolate!
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How Long it Takes for Chocolate to Make a Yorkie Sick
There’s no exact time at which a Yorkie starts feeling sick after eating chocolate. It may be less than an hour or it may take several hours. However, there is no question that if you see your Yorkie eat chocolate, you should immediately get him the necessary care. The earlier you address the problem, the more effectively you can treat it.
As time progresses, your dog’s condition will undoubtedly worsen. Just because your four-legged friend only has hyperactivity right now doesn’t mean you’re safe from more serious symptoms like seizures that may develop later. The highest quantity of caffeine is present in the body one hour after eating chocolate. Theobromine is trickier since some amount of it is still present in the body more than 17 hours after ingestion. Therefore, it is necessary to block its absorption into the system as soon as possible.
Chocolate Poisoning Treatment for Yorkies
Ideally, we would keep all chocolate away from dogs forever and we’d never have to meddle with things like toxins and chocolate poisoning. However, that’s about as likely as our dogs magically becoming averse to all things that are bad for them. It’s never going to happen. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of what you should do if you suspect that your Yorkie ate chocolate. When we say chocolate, we don’t mean a sniff of cocoa powder or some chocolate cookie crumbs, since that is probably harmless. A few bites of milk chocolate, however, are something to be concerned about. Once again, however, it is better to be safe than sorry. If in doubt, ask the doc.
But first, try and assess the damage. Which chocolate did your Yorkie seem to eat? How much? What symptoms does your dog seem to be displaying? You will need this information when you talk to your doctor. Alternatively, you can even contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (1-855-213-6680) and receive emergency care for a small fee.
Whatever you do, you should try and do it under the supervision of a professional so you know what to look out for and how to care for your pet. You should try and leave the treatment to the veterinarians, but if they recommend it, you can try and induce vomiting in your Yorkie using 3% (no more, no less) hydrogen peroxide which you should always keep on hand. The general recommendation is to give one teaspoon for every 5 pounds of your dog’s body weight. For a Yorkie weighing 7 pounds, 1.5 teaspoons should suffice.
The next step, if instructed so by your vet, is to take your Yorkie to their clinic or hospital. The vet will determine if your dog has had an overdose of theobromine or caffeine and proceed accordingly. There are a number of treatments that they may use.
The vet may try and induce vomiting in the Yorkie. They may wash his/her stomach to remove the toxins. Activated charcoal may also be used to block the circulation and absorption of theobromine from the bloodstream. It is usually administered every four to six hours for the first 24 hours. If necessary, the doctor may use supplemental treatments like medication and IV fluids. If your Yorkie had severe poisoning and symptoms like seizures, they will be closely monitored (usually overnight) till their condition improves.
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It sounds cheesy, but prevention really is better than cure. You can avoid considerable heartache if your dog ate a Ferrero Rocher by keeping said dog away from said chocolate in the first place. Yorkies are smart, but owners need to be smarter. Make sure chocolate is kept in locked and safe spaces out of the reach of dogs. Be strict with your pup and don’t fall for their puppy eyes. Train them not to eat any substances, such as leftover chocolate on the floor, after you have instructed them not to. It’s also a good idea to teach any children in the house that sharing may be caring, but sharing chocolates with dogs is the exception.
Special Chocolates For Our Special Dogs
We all think we’re strong till we have to look into the puppy eyes of our Yorkie as they ever-so-innocently beg us for a taste of chocolate and say no. Dogs are incredibly social. They naturally want to join their human friends for some chocolaty fun. The good news is, we don’t have to shun our dogs for indulging in these treats anymore. Carob, known as dog-friendly chocolate, is a 100% natural and healthy alternative to regular chocolate. All of the fun and none of the danger!
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What Exactly Is Carob?
Since cocoa is an ingredient that is toxic for dogs, these treats replace it with carbon wood powder. Some traces of cocoa may still be found in the snack, up to 4%, but these are harmless for your furry friend. Sugar is also excluded from the ingredients to ensure your dog’s health. In terms of dairy intake, the manufacturers of this treat don’t particularly specify which dairy products are used.
Some chocolate snacks can actually be beneficial for your dog’s health! White chocolate treats for dogs are produced from palm kernel oil and contain a variety of vitamins. Dogs and puppies with allergies are recommended to have these treats.
Manufacturers incorporate ingredients such as lecithin, which boosts the absorption of important vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, and improves the functions of their kidneys and livers. Chocolate flavored vitamin drops are also available on the market, and along with having multiple vitamins, they improve your dog’s coat and skin.
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Now that you know the intricacies of a Yorkie and choccy’s toxic relationship, you understand that you should never give any chocolate to Yorkies. And yes, that includes the pieces your grandma sneaks to your dog under the table. However, you know what to do now in case your Yorkie accidentally gets their paws on some cocoa.