While chocolate is a sweet treat that most people love to indulge in, you don’t want your pet to join in on this decadent dessert. Chocolate is highly toxic to our furry buddies! In this article, a local veterinarian discusses how and why chocolate is so dangerous to dogs.
What makes chocolate so toxic? It’s a substance called theobromine, which is very much like caffeine in that it causes the same reactions in the body. It’s a heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, muscle relaxant, and diuretic. Your dog isn’t able to metabolize this chemical, and can get very sick. Plus, the sugar and fat in chocolate can lead to pancreatitis. Fido doesn’t have to eat a lot to get sick from it. Chocolate is toxic at just one pound per body weight.
Watch out for symptoms of chocolate ingestion. These include diarrhea, vomiting, increased or excessive urination, increased water consumption, panting, and elevated heart rate. Severe reactions can include seizures, muscle tremors, and sadly, death. These symptoms generally manifest within a few hours after ingestion, and can last for several days. Call your local veterinarian immediately if you see any of these warning signs, or if you know or suspect that your pooch ingested chocolate.
Some types of chocolate are more toxic than others. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Dark chocolate can contain as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce, which is very dangerous for Fido. White chocolate is the least toxic, as it only contains about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce.
What about your kitty? Chocolate is just as toxic for Fluffy as it is for Fido. But, cats are more finicky and are less likely to ingest it.
As any dog owner knows, pups are very opportunistic eaters. Dogs have a habit of grabbing anything that falls to the floor. Watch Fido closely whenever you’re eating chocolate. Also, be careful if you have little kids around that are eating chocolate, as young children often innocently share their food with pets, unaware that our furry friends can’t always have the same foods as people do.
Do you have questions or concerns about chocolate toxicity in dogs? Call your local animal clinic for more information.