Chocolate is one of the most decadent desserts. While most people love to indulge in it, you should keep your furry friend in mind when eating it. Chocolate is toxic to Fido! In this article, a local veterinarian discusses dogs and chocolate toxicity.
Chocolate is so dangerous to dogs because of a substance called theobromine. Theobromine is a lot like caffeine, and causes the same reactions in the body. It’s a muscle relaxant, heart stimulant, diuretic, and blood vessel dilator. Doggies can’t metabolize these substances, and can get quite sick. Plus, the sugar and fat in chocolate may also lead to pancreatitis. Fido doesn’t have to eat that much to get sick from it. Chocolate is toxic at only one pound per body weight. Be careful that you don’t drop a piece or leave chocolate out where your dog can get to it.
Watch out for symptoms of chocolate ingestion. These include diarrhea, vomiting, panting, elevated heart rate, increased water consumption, and increased or excessive urination. Severe reactions might include seizures, muscle tremors, and sadly, death. These symptoms generally manifest within a few hours after Fido eats it, and can last for several days. Call your vet immediately if you see any of these warning signs, or if you know or suspect that your pooch ate chocolate.
Some types of chocolate are more toxic than others. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Dark chocolate can have as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce, which is a very dangerous dose for Fido. The least dangerous is white chocolate, which contains just about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce. However, it still isn’t safe.
What about your kitty? Chocolate is just as toxic for Fluffy as it is for pups. However, cats are a bit pickier than dogs, and are less likely to eat it.
All dog owners know that pups are very opportunistic eaters. Fido has a habit of grabbing anything that falls to the floor. Watch your pup closely when you’re eating chocolate. You’ll also need to keep an eye on young children that are eating chocolate near your pooch. Little kids often innocently offer their food to pets, unaware that our furry friends can’t always eat the same foods we do.
Contact your local pet clinic for more information on dogs and chocolate toxicity!