Although chocolate is one of the most common food item dog owners know to keep there dog away from, there still tends to be a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding it. Although it is a delicious indulgence for us it can be very harmful to your pet. I just wanted to take some time and give some information about how much is poisonous and what to do if your pet ingests some. When in doubt call your local vet who can advise you if the amount ingested is harmful or not. Levels can range from no symptoms at all to life threatening amounts so its best to be on the safe side especially if you keep some in your house for when the carving hits.
Why is it toxic to dogs (and cats) but I can eat it?
- Chocolate is toxic because it contains a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Both chemicals act as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine as well as people can. This makes them more sensitive to its effects.
How much Chocolate is too toxic?
- The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs. Baking chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate are highly concentrated, while common milk chocolate has a little. White chocolate barely poses any threat. The larger the dog, the more chocolate he or she would have to consume to be toxic, while a small dog would have to ingest a smaller amount to experience adverse effects. For many dogs, ingesting small amounts of milk chocolate is not harmful.
What are the effects of Chocolate on my pet?
- Mild amounts: Agitation, hyperactivity, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination and gastrointestinal signs (such as drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea)
- Moderate amounts: cardiac signs such as racing heart rate, high blood pressure, or even heart arrhythmias.
- Severe amounts: neurologic signs can be seen, including muscle tremors, twitching, and even seizures and death.
What to do if your pet eats chocolate
- Contact your local vet or poison control at 1888-426-4435. Your veterinarian can induce vomiting and often times if caught in time avoid any dangerous effects all together. Do not make your pet vomit at home using household methods such as hydrogen peroxide, which can cause severe GI ulceration or worse be aspirated into the lungs.
- If a large amount was ingested your veterinarian may given your dog activated charcoal and IV fluids to help bind and flush any toxins and help with any gastrointestinal signs.They can also monitor your dogs heart and other vitals to ensure there safety.
Dog treats with Chocolate, what is that about?
- Many gourmet dog treats use carob as a chocolate substitute. Carob looks similar to chocolate but without the theobromine