While most of us like to indulge in a little chocolate every once in a while, this is one food celebration you don’t want your pet to join in on. Chocolate is extremely dangerous to our furry buddies! A local veterinarian provides some information on your pet and chocolate.
Chocolate is so dangerous to dogs because of a substance called theobromine. Theobromine is a lot like caffeine, causing the same bodily reactions. It’s a heart stimulant, diuretic, muscle relaxant, and blood vessel dilator. Your pup can’t metabolize these substances, and may get very sick. And, the fat and sugar in chocolate may lead to pancreatitis. Fido doesn’t need to eat very much to get sick. In fact, chocolate can be fatal in dogs at only one pound per body weight.
Look for symptoms of chocolate ingestion. These include diarrhea, vomiting, panting, increased water consumption, elevated heart rate, and increased or excessive urination. Severe reactions can include seizures, muscle tremors, and even death. These signs generally show up within a few hours after ingestion, and can last for several days. Call your vet immediately if you notice 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. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Dark chocolate can contain as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce, which is an extremely dangerous dose for dogs. Containing only about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce, white chocolate is the least toxic, but it still isn’t safe.
Dogs can be very opportunistic eaters. If your pup has a habit of snapping up anything that falls to the floor, watch him closely whenever you are eating chocolate. You’ll also want to keep an eye on young children that are eating chocolate, as kids often innocently share their food with pets. Children don’t realize that our four-legged friends can’t always eat the same foods that people eat.
What about Fluffy? Chocolate is just as dangerous for her as it is for Fido. But fortunately, cats are less likely to eat it, as they are a little more finicky overall. Keep it away from your kitty to be safe.
Do you have questions about chocolate toxicity in dogs? Call your local veterinarian.