(PET HEALTH) You’ve been told to keep your pooch away from chocolate, but why is it so bad for them? Dogs seem to eat everything under the sun. Ciara Black is a Global Animal contributor from the Dog Help Network, a resource for dog health related websites. Read on for why she says chocolate is not good for dogs, and what to do if your pup should ever get into that bag of chocolate chips. — Global Animal
By Ciara Black
Dogs and chocolate is not a good combination. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, a chemical stimulant that belongs in the same group as caffeine and theophylline. Theobromine is found in the cocoa bean, and might cause increased urination for your pooch and affect the nervous system and heart, ultimately leading to cardiac arrest.
Most chocolates vary with the amount of theobromine they contain, but even a small dose can create a big problem for your dog. The longer chocolate stays in your dog’s system without treatment, the more damage it may do. There is no known antidote to cure a pup with chocolate poisoning, so it is very important to take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms may not appear for a few hours and may be confused with a different illness.
Symptoms to look out for:
- Increased water consumption
- Increased urination
- Muscle spasms
- Increased heart rate
- Blue/grey colored gums
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate
There are a few steps to treat your dog’s case of chocolate poisoning depending on how much chocolate and what kind was eaten. However, always contact a veterinarian or animal poison control and follow proper procedures.
The first step to treating dogs eating chocolate is to collect some information before calling animal poison control or the vet.
- What kind of chocolate did your dog eat? Candy bar? Baking chocolate? White chocolate?
- What breed is your dog?
- How much does your dog weigh?
- Is there evidence around? This will help to show serving sizes on the packaging.
- Has your dog shown any symptoms?
- How long has it been since your dog ate the chocolate?
- What kind of symptoms is your dog portraying?
Next, you will likely have to induce vomiting. This is recommended for the first few hours after your dog consumed the chocolate. If it has been longer than 12 hours, you should not induce vomiting because it may damage your dog’s esophagus.
Types Of Chocolate
The amount of theobromine varies in different types of chocolate. Certain types of chocolate may not pose a serious risk for your dog, but may just give him a bout of diarrhea and vomiting. However, some types of chocolate may cause serious damage and may lead to death if they do not get treatment right away.
The following list shows the types of chocolate from least harmful to most dangerous:
- White chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- Semi-sweet chocolate
- Baker’s (unsweetened) chocolate
White chocolate contains roughly 1mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate, while baker’s chocolate contains about 465mg of theobromine per ounce. This is a huge difference, and will be a very important factor in the symptoms your dog might show.
Remember, if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately!
For more information about dogs eating chocolate, symptoms, treatment options and more, visit www.dogsandchocolate.net.