Dogs and Chocolates: A Toxic Combination


It can be tempting to share your food with your dogs, especially when they look at you with those puppy dog eyes. While there’s nothing wrong in sharing food with your dog, there are some foods that we consider as treats but can be dangerous to our pets. Chocolate is one of them.

The problem is, once your dog has tasted chocolate, she’ll definitely want more. We understand that it’s difficult to resist that pathetic begging look across her face, but try not to give in.

Chocolates can be toxic to dogs. In fact, experts reveal that it is one of the most common causes of dog poisoning. Theobromine is the ingredient in chocolate that makes it toxic to dogs. It is a bitter alkaloid that is found in cocoa plant. It is similar to caffeine and is used medicinally as a smooth muscle relaxant, blood vessel dilator, heart stimulant and diuretic.

Humans can easily metabolize theorbormine, but dogs and other animals such as cats and horses process it much more slowly.

The hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the dog’s size, the amount and the type of chocolate consumed. The amount of theobromine differs in different types of chocolates. The darker and more bitter the chocolate is, the higher the potential for clinical problems.

A small amount of chocolate will probably give your dog an upset stomach. But if ingested in high amounts, it can lead to various medical complications.

The symptoms of theobromine ingestion include from diarrhea and vomiting. This is usually evident during the first few hours. As time passes, you may notice excessive thirst and urination, tremors, abnormal heart rhythm and seizures. It can even cause death in severe cases.

Prompt treatment and intervention is of great importance. While there is no antidote to theobromine, the best way to save your dog is to administer medications to induce vomiting. Activated charcoal binds with theobromine and prevents it from reaching the bloodstream.

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