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Biting into a piece of chocolate may be one of the most satisfying experiences you’ll ever have with food. But, don’t share this experience with your dog. Chocolate is highly toxic to our canine companions! In this article, a local veterinarian explains chocolate toxicity in dogs.
What makes chocolate so dangerous? A substance called theobromine, which is a lot like caffeine, causes the same reactions in a dog’s body. Theobromine is a heart stimulant, diuretic, muscle relaxant, and blood vessel dilator. Your pup can’t metabolize theobromine, and may get quite sick. Plus, the fat and sugar in chocolate can also lead to pancreatitis. Fido doesn’t have to eat too much of it to get sick. Chocolate is toxic at just one pound per body weight.
Look for signs of chocolate ingestion. These include diarrhea, vomiting, increased water consumption, elevated heart rate, panting, and increased or excessive urination. Severe reactions may include muscle tremors, seizures, and sadly, death. These symptoms generally appear within a few hours after a dog eats it, and can last for several days. Call your local animal hospital immediately if you see any of these warning signs, or if you know or suspect that Fido ate chocolate.
Some types of chocolate are more dangerous than others. You can tell how toxic it is by the color of it. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Dark chocolate can contain as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce, which is a highly dangerous dose for Fido. White chocolate is the least dangerous, as it only has about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce, but it still is dangerous.
What about Fluffy? Chocolate is just as dangerous for felines as it is for canines. However, kitties are less likely to eat it, as they are a little pickier overall.
As every dog owner knows, pooches are very opportunistic eaters. Fido has a habit of grabbing anything that falls to the floor. Watch him closely whenever you’re eating chocolate. Also, be careful if you have small children around that are eating chocolate, as little kids often innocently give their food to pets, unaware that our four-legged friends can’t always have the same foods we do.
Do you have questions about chocolate toxicity in dogs? Call your local pet clinic for immediate service!