Why is chocolate bad for dogs?
You’re happily nibbling on the last remains of your Easter egg, when your dog clocks that there’s tasty food around.
When they look at you with eyes, well, like chocolate drops, you’ll melt faster than a Mars Bar on a hot day. But – don’t give in and share your snack with them. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can make your pet very poorly indeed.
Here’s what every pet parent needs to know about chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Why can’t my dog eat chocolate?
There’s a caffeine-like compound called theobromine in the cacao seed, which is the main ingredient in chocolate. Theobromine doesn’t affect humans; however, because dogs metabolise it more slowly than we do, it can lead to poisoning and could even cause kidney failure.
Cats being generally smaller, can succumb to theobromine poisoning even faster than dogs. But, felines don’t have a sweet tooth (they don’t have receptors for sweet tastes), so it’s rare that a cat will overdose on chocolate.
Dark chocolate is more dangerous than “diluted” milk chocolate; however, it’s still far from safe. Generally speaking, an ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potentially fatal amount of chocolate for our dogs.
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs?
This varies, depending on the weight and breed of the dog, and the amount and type of chocolate they’ve consumed. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning will usually appear within four hours. These can be:
If you catch your dog in the act of eating chocolate, you may be able to take them off to the vet before the symptoms even start.
What do I do if my dog eats chocolate?
If you think your dog has eaten chocolate, it’s straight to the vet (even at night). If you know or can guess what’s been consumed, that will really help the veterinary team and the chocolate wrapper would be ideal. Knowing your dog’s weight will also save the vet time.
The most common treatment is to make the dog vomit to bring up the theobromine. If the case is more advanced and it’s too late to induce vomiting, your pet may need to stay at the vets for fluid therapy and anti-arrhythmic treatment.
As ever, the best approach is preventative. Luckily, dogs can’t unlock cupboards, so make sure you stash those chocs away!
My dog loves chocolate! What can I give them instead?
You can actually get special doggie chocolate drops, which don’t contain theobromine, and many dogs really like these safe alternatives. However, if you have a canine chocoholic (who certainly won’t check the label to check the ingredients), keep to treats that don’t look like the real thing. Try something like our ‘Reel’ Fishskins or perhaps a tasty Trip Bone, which according to pet parents always go down a treat.
At Guru, we Geeks love chatting about your dog’s culinary likes and dislikes. If you’d like to know more about healthy and safe treats for your pet, please get in touch.