Why is Chocolate Poisonous for Your Dog?
Chocolate – is there anything better on the planet? It’s such a powerful force that kids will inhale the broccoli on their dinner plate so that they can prepare for dessert. Your dog loves chocolate too. After all, a pile of rocks is a delicacy for many breeds. We love our pets and will do anything to make them happy. Unfortunately, chocolate isn’t something we can share with them. Why is this?
What makes chocolate poisonous?
Per Petmd, chocolate is toxic for dogs because it contains theobromine; a chemical similar to caffeine. In large amounts, theobromine can be toxic for humans and dogs. However, toxicity is extremely rare in humans unless large amounts of chocolate are consumed. Unfortunately, dogs metabolize theobromine much more slowly than we do. This is the reason a relatively small amount of chocolate can be very bad for our furry friends.
Are all chocolates the same?
Different types of chocolate have varying amounts of theobromine in them. Generally, the more cocoa solids contained in a product, the more toxin present. The mg of theobromine present in different chocolates are:
- Cooking or baking chocolate (dark) – 16 mg per gram
- Dark chocolate – 5.5 mg per gram
- Milk chocolate – 2.4 mg per gram
- White chocolate – 0.01 mg per gram
While all chocolate is dangerous for dogs, the above information indicates that smaller amounts of dark chocolate are required for a severe reaction relative to lighter chocolates (less cocoa).
What should you do if your dog eats chocolate?
Signs of chocolate toxicity usually appear relatively quickly, usually within 2-4 hours. Some of the signs and symptoms include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Uncoordinated movement
If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, call your vet immediately. The treatment will depend on the amount of chocolate consumed and symptoms present. Fortunately, the prognosis is favorable when the problem is addressed quickly. Often times a few spoonfuls of hydrogen peroxide will cause your baby to cough up (literally) all that unwanted chocolate.
Our pets tend to be spoiled. They get endless love and affection, as many toys as they can break, and a new outfit monthly. Unfortunately, one item we can’t spoil them with is chocolate. If your pup does manage to get ahold of some, all hope is not lost. A quick call to your veterinarian will provide the treatment they need. There is no doubt, chocolate is one of the world’s wonders – just not for our pets.