Why Dogs Should Not Eat Chocolate .!!


Why Dogs Should Not Eat Chocolate

On Valentine's Day, I received a letter from our veterinarian, reminding us to keep chocolate away from our dogs. It has always been said that chocolate can kill a dog, but I didn't know how true that was. So, this inspired me to do some research into this subject, and here is what I found.

So, What Is Wrong With Giving Your Dog Chocolate?

The answer to this question has to do with the chemical known as theobromine. This chemical is present in chocolate. Theobromine can do a number of things to hurt a dog. First, it can stimulate and destabilize the dog's central nervous system. It can cause an acceleration of the dog's heart rate, a condition known as tachycardia. It can cause abdominal discomfort, frequent urination, diarrhea, dehydration, and cardiac arrhythmia.

Theobromine doesn't have the effect on humans that it does on dogs. This is because a dog cannot metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans can. If a dog consumes a lot of chocolate, then this can cause toxic levels of theobromine to accumulate in the body, that can kill the dog if the level is high enough. Toxic levels of theobromine in dogs generally occur at 100 - 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. For instance, my Jack Russell terrier weighs about 9 pounds. This translates into about 4.1 kilograms. So, 410 milligrams of theobromine is enough to make my dog sick. That's less than half a gram, equal to about half the weight of a paper clip. Studies have found that dogs that take in 250 - 500 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight are 50% likely to die from theobromine poisoning.

How Much Chocolate Will Hurt My Dog? 

The answer to this question depends on the type of chocolate, the size of the dog. Darker and richer chocolates have higher levels of theobromine, and are more dangerous to dogs. Cocoa powder and baking chocolate are the worst offenders in this category. Milk chocolate doesn't have quite as much theobromine, while white chocolate has a very small amount, but should be avoided all the same. To break it down for you, please see the following table, which illustrates toxic levels of chocolate in dogs by weight.

Dog Weight (pounds)Amount of Milk Chocolate (ounces)Amount of Chocolate Chips (ounces)Amount of Unsweetened Chocolate (ounces)
Table 1: Toxic Levels Of Chocolate By Weight

This chart shows that unsweetened chocolates can do more damage to a dog. Heavier dogs can withstand higher levels of chocolate before becoming sick. Smaller dogs can be poisoned with just small amounts of chocolate.

Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs

There are a number of symptoms that dogs can exhibit in the event they consume chocolate and suffer from theobromine poisoning. Symptoms will usually show up within 1-4 hours after ingestion of the chocolate. They include abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination, dehydration, and excessive thirst. In cases of more severe poisoning, symptoms may include high body temperature (fever), balance problems, cardiac arrhythmia, internal bleeding, heart attacks, epileptic seizures, muscle spasms, coma, and death. Death by chocolate poisoning is usually brought on by either cardiac arrhythmia, high body temperature, or respiratory failure.

Treatment For Dogs Eating Chocolate

In minor cases, a dog that eats chocolate may experience some abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea for a little while before it passes. However, in more severe cases, you need to get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Veterinarians will often induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion.

After reading this article, you should now know that yes, chocolate can hurt your dog and even kill it under extreme circumstances. These instances tend to happen more around the holidays, when greater amounts of chocolate tend to be consumed and left around the house by humans. Sometimes, it can be tempting when eating a chocolate bar, or a bowl of chocolate ice cream, to let your dog have a little bit. If your dog is anything like my dogs, they'll be in your face trying to get some of it! While we as dog lovers may have the tendency to appease our four-legged friends, it's important to not give in here.

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