Is Chocolate Safe for My Dog – The Facts

Most people would salivate at the thought of rich chocolate desserts and dark chocolate bars. Dogs are no different; they’re equally attracted to the delicious, sweet treat, and their strong olfactory senses make it very easy for them to figure out your hiding spots. Once they’re in there, they’re going to gulp down your stash of chocolates.

That is exactly what we want to avoid. Near Christmas, a lot of us have chocolates in the house either because we distribute them to guests as gifts for Christmas, or we use these chocolates to make a mug of hot chocolate to drink in the chilly season. Did you know that every year around Christmas, multiple dogs are hospitalized because of complications from ingesting chocolates? Pet parents have to be on their guard as chocolate can be really bad for dogs

Dangerous Ingredients in Chocolate

A lot of us have heard people warning us against letting our dog take a bite of our chocolate cake, or a little slip of our chocolate-flavored milk, but have passed it on as an urban myth. However, chocolate is actually bad for dogs, and there is science that backs this fact up.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which have methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine). Theobromine, while easily digested by humans, stays in a dog’s digestive system for a while because their bodies can’t break it down as fast as humans can. The delayed digestion results in the theobromine building up toxicity in the dog’s blood levels.

While big dogs can handle a little bit of chocolate and are able to process the theobromine, the risk depends on the size, weight, and species of the dog, as well as the theobromine content of the chocolate the dog ingested.

Immediately, the chocolate might simply quicken up the dog’s heart rate to twice the normal rate, and make him extremely active. But in a while, the dog will start to exhibit symptoms of poisoning.

Symptoms of Chocolate Consumption

Initially, the following could be warning signs that your dog may have consumed chocolate and is unable to digest it.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Thirst
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive urination

If it is not treated immediately, and the toxic substance remains in the system for longer than necessary, your dog might experience severe symptoms, including:

  • Muscle Twitches
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Cardiac Arrest

Do not take the initial signs lightly, and if you suspect that your dog might have found your chocolates and taken a bit of them, rush him to the vet.

Can Chocolate Kill Your Dog?

Yes, chocolate can very much kill your dog. The aforementioned symptoms could get worse and eventually result in death.  While there is no antidote for chocolate poisoning in dogs, the vet may induce vomiting, so no more theobromine enters into the dog’s system. He might also be fed activated charcoal to absorb as much methylxanthine from his body as possible.

While a big dog can survive a small bite of milk chocolate, a small dog cannot. Big doses of white or milk chocolates or small doses of potent dark chocolate or unsweetened cooking chocolates can be potentially lethal for your dog, so keep them out of your dog’s reach.

We understand that you can’t be available all the time to monitor your dog. If you need to leave your dog alone at home sometimes, you can hire a pet sitter from Little Friends Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, who can keep an eye on your dog and make sure they don’t go rummaging around where they don’t belong.

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