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Posted by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 29th Mar 2017
***NEVER FEED YOUR PETS CHOCOLATE OR COCOA***
IF YOUR PET EATS CHOCOLATE, CALL YOUR VETERINARY DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY TO GET PROPER ADVICE.
How Much Caffeine is in Chocolate and How Much Chocolate can Kill a Dog?
Eating chocolate is an exceptionally satisfying experience. We often tend to feel amazingly pleasant after this divine indulgence. Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food and a stress reliever. Chocolate has the ability to console us when life gets us down. It is a powerful mood enhancer and is much more than just being a cure for the broken heart. Research is continuing all the time and experts suggests that chocolate, preferably dark chocolate or chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids, is really healthy for us. Cocoa beans from which this delicacy is derived are a host to more than 300 known chemicals which scientists have been working on to isolate. It’s amazing how a little bean can hoard so many healthy chemicals.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF THE COCOA BEAN:
The chemical composition of a cocoa bean is very complex:
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS IN CHOCOLATE?
People often ask about the amount of caffeine present in chocolate. For any dark chocolate, there is a moderate amount of caffeine present. Caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid substance present in the leaves, nuts and fruits of many plants including coffee and about 60 other plant varieties.
One of these plants is the cocoa tree from which chocolate comes. The caffeine is found in the seeds of the cocoa pods. Cocoa seeds are commonly called cocoa beans. Cocoa beans grow inside the cocoa pods. Each cocoa pod contains around 30 to 40 cocoa beans. The cocoa beans contain from 0.1 to 0.7% caffeine.
Caffeine is also present in lesser amounts in the skin that surrounds the cocoa beans. It usually constitutes 0.05% to 0.3 % of caffeine whereas dried tea leaves have approximately 3% caffeine and dry coffee beans have almost 1.2% caffeine present in them. The difference in tea versus coffee effect on you as a consumer is in the amount you use to brew your drink. You use much less dried tea leaves to brew a drink than coffee. This is why coffee generally has a bigger caffeine punch in daily life as compared to tea (you are using more coffee by weight in making your drink).
When chocolate is made, the skin is removed (winnowed) from the beans. These beans resulting from the process of winnowing are called the cocoa nibs.
It is in these cocoa nibs that the caffeine found in chocolate resides. The nibs are ground in making chocolate and the more concentration of ground nibs (darker chocolate), the more caffeine it will contain.
Dark Chocolate contains a greater percentage of Cocoa solids (cocoa fiber mostly from the cocoa nibs) than milk chocolate or white chocolate. It is because of this; dark chocolate contains more caffeine than either of the other two.
A moderate amount of caffeine is present in dark chocolate which is not as much as what is present in coffee or tea. In milk chocolate, however caffeine is found only in traces.
Another cousin of caffeine mainly found in cocoa nibs is Theobromine, previously known as xantheose. Both theobromine and caffeine share remarkable similarities in their composition structure and this probably explains why they both work in similar ways.
Both caffeine and theobromine are extremely useful as vasodilators, meaning they are beneficial in providing asthmatic improvement in breathing by widening the blood vessels in the lungs. However similar they may be, theobromine does not have the similar strong effects that caffeine does on people.
Chocolate is evolving, and this evolution is bringing forth numerous health benefit which were previously unknown. According to research carried out by The Telegraph, eating dark chocolate provides the following health benefits:
While humans continue to enjoy these numerous health benefits, the same cannot be said about chocolate's effect on pets such as cats and dogs and peculiarly dogs specifically. The effects of chocolate ingestion by your pet dog are bound to be bad and can be life threatening.
EFFECTS OF CHOCOLATE ON PETS AND PARTICULARLY DOGS.
If eaten by a dog, chocolate can have one or more of these effects on them:
The effects of chocolate on your dog mainly depends upon the consumed quantity and also by the type of chocolate consumed. Generally darker chocolates are reported to have more lethal effects if consumed by dogs. This is because of the higher concentration of cocoa solids and thus theobromine and caffeine.
WHAT MAKES CHOCOLATE SO TOXIC FOR DOGS.
Chocolate contains substances methylxanthines or commonly caffeine and theobromine.
Usually the treatment for theobromine poisoning in dogs is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. Please call your veterinary doctor for specific actions to take if this emergency should happen.
2 OZ OF DARK CHOCOLATE CAN BE DEADLY FOR A 10LB DOG.
5 OZ OF Milk CHOCOLATE CAN BE DEADLY FOR A 10LB DOG.
Most large flat chocolate candy bars are about 3.5 oz for easy visual reference. Hershey bars will vary in size and weight, but one of the most common sizes is the 1.55 oz. milk chocolate bar.
There are several sources of caffeine likely in the house beyond chocolate like tea and coffee. Theobromine is a frequent finding also as chocolate is most readily available in your house... I'm guessing since you are reading my blog you eat chocolate like I do. :)
The following chart shows the products with high Theobromine amounts.
(Theobromine column 3 and caffeine Column 4):
So baking cocoa has 2266 mg of theobromine and 67.1 mg of caffeine in 1 dry cup.
The table below depicts the amount of theobromine and caffeine present in different cocoa products:
Cocoa, cooking chocolates, dark chocolates contains a high amount of theobromine levels as compared to white chocolate or milk chocolates. The darker the chocolate the more poisonous it is for a dog. Do not feed chocolate to your pets ever.
Death by Chocolate for People
Death by Chocolate is generally my favorite menu item... chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce. After that type of indulgence the meaning of the dessert name becomes self evident. But the reality of the situation is actually yes, it is possible. Well how much though and why?
If we exclude the actual impossibility of eating this much chocolate in one sitting it would be 22 lb. of dark chocolate for a 170 lb. individual. This translates to eating about 40 regular sized 3.5oz chocolate bars in a time period of about 30 minutes - not likely possible to complete (well unless you are really a true chocolate fiend). ;)
What would be the culprit ingredient in chocolate that could bring a chocolate fiend to his or her demise? The answer is the ingredient that makes chocolate so addictive, and it is also the ingredient that would compel the chocolate fiend to try to eat 22 lb. all at once...Theobromine.
Theobromine is the natural plant alkaloid and nerve stimulant that is in chocolate and tea by the way. Anyhow, theobromine gives you that euphoric feeling and "pick me up" not to mention it has aphrodisiac properties.
So my recommendation is to enjoy your chocolate in moderation.
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