Chocolate: A Great Taste for Us, a Great Danger for Dogs
Most people with a sweet tooth love chocolate, but chocolate can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate poisoning can cause serious health issues in dogs, and is the most common cause of dog poisoning, according to WebMD’s Pet Health information. But how can something that tastes so good be so bad for our four-legged friends?
Why Is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?
Chocolate contains two substances that are harmful to dogs when ingested: caffeine and theobromine, an alkaloid. While these substances are harmless to humans, they can cause serious problems if your pet ingests them. Dogs’ bodies aren’t built to handle the stress that caffeine and theobromine put on their systems.
Certain kinds of chocolate are more harmful to dogs than others, notes PetMD. For example, white chocolate may not necessarily be toxic, but its high sugar content could lead to tummy problems. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, has a low level of toxicity, but should still be taken seriously, while dark or baking chocolate have a very high level of toxicity and ingestion of these types of chocolate should be considered an emergency.
What Are the Signs of Chocolate Poisoning?
If your dog has chocolate poisoning, he will exhibit symptoms that can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizure, muscle rigidity and even seizure. As your pet’s body reacts to the substances in chocolate that are harmful to him, his system will be stressed and start to shut down.
What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Chocolate?
If your dog ingests chocolate, you should call your vet or the ASPCA’s poison control center at 888-426-4435. The experts on the phones will help you to determine how serious the situation is by asking you how much and what kind of chocolate your dog ingested. Based on your dog’s situation, they can recommend whether you should induce vomiting or take your dog to a clinic where he or she can receive treatment. If only a small amount of low-level toxicity chocolate was consumed, you may be instructed just to keep an eye on your pet for the rest of the day.
While not guaranteed to be consistently accurate for your pet, as each pet’s metabolism varies just the same as people, PetMD offers an online calculator that shows the toxicity of different types of chocolate for dogs based on the amount consumed and the dog’s weight. Though chocolate can be harmful to our furry friends, that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy it! Just make sure to keep the chocolate of your choice – especially our handmade artisan chocolates that are much better enjoyed by people – out of your pet’s reach!