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What Is The Big Deal About Chocolate?

dogs chocolate halloween albuquerqueWe all have heard that you should not feed chocolate to your dog, but why? Is it really a big deal?  Yes it is a big deal because chocolate has the potential to kill your dog. Though you might be thinking, my dog has had chocolate before and was fine. Sometimes this is true, but even if it doesn’t kill your dog it can make them very sick with diarrhea and vomiting.

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.

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Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.