Most dog owners think that dogs should not eat chocolate for the same reasons as children – chocolate is a fairly allergenic product, plus it can cause tooth decay. It’s true. However, there is a more serious contraindication – chocolate can be fatal for a dog. We wrote this article to provide you with a guide on what to do if your dog ate chocolate, and prevent this situation as well.
Why Chocolate Is Poisonous for Dogs?
Chocolate in itself is a controversial product. Some doctors are categorical in this matter, while others say that it is even useful to eat one piece of dark chocolate per day. This may be useful for humans, but certainly not for dogs.
The fact is that the human liver contains a special enzyme that helps to digest the components of chocolate correctly. Theobromine is one of these components, and this substance is potentially dangerous for dogs. Dogs, unlike humans, do not have an enzyme that can handle theobromine. As a result, this substance accumulates in the dog’s body, causing real chocolate poisoning.
How Much Chocolate Is Poisonous to a Dog?
Here is one subtlety that you should know about the dogs and chocolate. The amount of dangerous theobromine is different in different types of chocolate. For example, the amount of this substance is maximum in dark and bitter chocolate and minimum in milk chocolate. Therefore, if your dog accidentally swallows a piece of milk chocolate, nothing will happen.
However, this is a completely different situation if you consistently treat your dog with chocolate every day. Of course, you will not see any sad changes in a week – however, after half a year, alarming symptoms will begin to appear.
As for the dangerous dose of theobromine for dogs, the veterinarians point to the following numbers.
- 15-80 mg per 1 kg of dog weight will be enough for the animal to get severe poisoning.
- 100 or more mg of chocolate per 1 kg of dog weight can be fatal.
Important! The minimum dose is valid for chocolate with the highest content of theobromine, and vice versa.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can be different. The most obvious symptom is that you no longer see a bar of chocolate or a packet of candies that you brought from the store only yesterday.
But seriously, the most common symptoms are as follows.
- The onset of poisoning usually manifests itself in abnormal hyperactivity. This is theobromine, which acts on the dog in much the same way as adrenaline on a person.
- If the dog has eaten a small amount of chocolate, then most likely it will cause a slight thirst and possibly diarrhea or vomiting. Symptoms will pass by themselves after a day.
- In especially serious cases, the dog may experience fever, cramps, tremors, heart failure, and even internal bleeding.
- If the dog suffers from allergies, then chocolate can aggravate the situation very much.
Important! The first symptoms appear three or four hours after the dog ate chocolate. Therefore, if you are sure that the dog did this, and you know the approximate amount of chocolate eaten, then you need to contact the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Chocolate
The first thing you need to do is try to determine how much chocolate your dog ate, and also determine whether it was dark or milk chocolate. If the packaging has survived, then you can easily do it.
The next step is to determine how dangerous the dose is and, of course, call your veterinarian right away.
What Is the Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning?
In general, the treatment process is similar to treating food poisoning in humans. The first thing a doctor does is induce vomiting in the dog to get rid of the remaining chocolate in the stomach. Further, it will be necessary to give the dog strong sorbents to cleanse the blood and intestines of dangerous substances. If it was a light poisoning, then these measures will be enough.
How to Prevent My Dog from Eating Chocolate
The only way to protect your dog from chocolate is simple and banal. If you do not want the dog to eat chocolate, then you need to either not buy it or store it in the most inaccessible place, for example, on the highest shelf in your kitchen.
A more reliable way is, of course, raising your dog and forming the right eating habits. This is the wrong approach to treat your dog with food from your table. Your dog should know that it can only eat the food that you put in its bowl. And of course, any attempted theft of products should be strictly suppressed.
It’s not at all difficult to protect your dog from chocolate – but it is much more difficult to cope with the dangerous consequences. Therefore, be careful and do not forget that dogs require almost the same responsibility as children – it is never possible to predict in which hole they will stick their charming nose the next time.