How much chocolate is bad for dogs?
You might have heard people say not to give chocolate to your dogs because it is not good for them. If you had though that this was just a statement without any valid proof, you might be wrong. Recent studies show that chocolate might be toxic to dogs.
As we all know that chocolate is made from the fruit of the tropical cocoa tree. All the chocolate that you find in the market is made of cocoa liquor and the cocoa butter that is extracted from the bean. Since the fruit or the bean is bitter, it goes through extensive process in order to become the smooth and yummy chocolate that everyone loves. All the commercial chocolate contains large amount of sugar, milk powder and milk. But, even the natural chocolate contains a number of substances, especially caffeine and theobromine. It is this theobromine that is toxic to animals, especially dogs.
While humans have the ability to metabolize the theobromine that is present in the chocolate, dogs system is not designed to do the same. Thus, the body cannot absorb the theobromine and enters the bloodstream. It remains there for as long as 20 hours leading to vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, nervousness and also excessive urination. When the dogs have excess chocolate in a day, they can also experience seizures and muscle spasms that can be fatal.
Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning will depend on the amount and the type of chocolate ingested by the dog. For most dogs, the most common signs will be excessive vomiting and diarrhea, panting or restlessness, increased thirst, racing heart rate, tremors or occasional seizures that are difficult to control. Older dogs that eat high quantity of dark chocolate are also at a risk of cardiac arrest. This may also be a possibility for dogs that already have a heart condition. If left untreated, it can lead to complications that can make its treatment much more difficult. Signs of chocolate poisoning can take many hours to develop and may stay for a number of days since theobromine can run the bloodstream for a number of days. Many times, the theobromine can be reabsorbed from the bladder that may require IV fluid and walks to get rid of. It is best to seek advice from a veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate.
If your dog has eaten chocolate, you should immediately note the type of chocolate eaten by the dog, estimation of the amount eaten and then call the veterinarian immediately for recommendation as to what you need to do. You might have to take your dog to them for further examination and evaluation that might not be possible at home.
You need to be careful when it comes to knowing what your dog is eating. It is best to keep your chocolates at unreachable places so that your dog cannot eat them. It is best to take preventive measure rather than risking your dog’s life.