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Why You Should Care About Chocolate and Your Dog

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

This is the time of year when our bowls and bags are overflowing with chocolate. There is candy everywhere! Because of this we have to be extra careful to make sure our dogs don’t eat any. Though we all know that it is bad to feed chocolate to your dog, it is pretty easy to forget why. Chocolate is incredibly toxic to your dog, let me explain why.

Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. Cacao is the primary ingredient in chocolate. It is what makes chocolate, chocolate. Though humans can easily process theobromine, dog’s process it much more slowly. This allows it to build up to toxic levels in their body. Technically it is possible for a person to get theobromine poisoning but because of how quickly our human bodies process it, it is very difficult.

A lot of people ask, how much chocolate is bad for my dog? All chocolate is bad for your dog, no matter how small. That being said, there are a lot of factors that determine how much your dog can consume before suffering from theobromine poisoning. For instance, a large dog can typically consume more than a small dog. Also, the different types of chocolate have differing levels of theobromine. Cocoa, cooking chocolate, and dark chocolate contain more than milk chocolate. But less than an ounce of dark chocolate can poison a 44 pound dog.

Signs of Chocolate or Theobromine Toxicity are:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomitting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Heart attack

If you think your dog may have eaten chocolate, it is a good idea to call your Albuquerque veterinarian right away. Your vet may ask you what symptoms your dog is having and then instruct you on what to do next.  A typical treatment for eating too much chocolate is inducing vomiting. Never induce your dog to vomit without veterinary supervision. Inducing vomiting incorrectly can also cause a lot of it’s own veterinary problems. The level of treatment required is entirely dependent on the level of theobromine toxicity.

This Halloween, be safe and keep the chocolate away from your dog. Go grab him some special dog treats so he can have some special Halloween treats with you instead of trying to share yours.