April 8, 2014

Why Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?

Posted in: Dog


Easter is around the corner and I love that. The reason being, I love chocolate. Sometimes, I think I love it too much. I have to have it every day and not just a small amount. A lot. But when Easter is here, I can eat a lot of it in the lead up to Easter, during Easter and after Easter and not feel guilty. Why? Because it’s Easter, you have to eat chocolate. But seriously, after Easter, I’m going to try really hard to get off chocolate, cold turkey. I don’t like how badly I need it.

Anyway, the point of this post isn’t about my love affair with chocolate but how chocolate and dogs is a deadly combination. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs. I always thought even the smallest amount of chocolate can kill. I remember last year we were out for dinner with friends and my friend told me that her dog ate one m & m before she came out for dinner. I was shocked and said, ‘Are you insane? Why are you here, you need to take Winston to the vet!’

Turns out, one m & m will not kill your dog. There are a few factors that play a part in the deadly concoction of dog and chocolate. It depends on the type of chocolate, the amount your dog consumes and your dog’s size.

There is an ingredient in chocolate called Theobromine. Humans can easily metabolise Theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. With large amounts, Theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of Theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.

The usual treatment for Theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed above, call your veterinarian immediately.

The chocolate with the highest amount of Theobromine is cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate. The high level of Theobromine in dark chocolate means it takes only a very small amount to poison your dog. Milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest amount of Theobromine.

If your dog ingested or ever does ingest chocolate, regardless of the amount, you should call your local vet asap just to see if you need to come in or not. Vets can usually treat chocolate poising by inducing vomiting.

Remember to leave your chocolate well out of reach from your pooch this Easter!