Why chocolate can be dangerous for dogs

Dog with painted Easter Eggs

Those of us lucky enough to have them, will be tucking into Easter eggs and other chocolate treats over the Easter weekend, but this is one treat you do not want to offer your dog.

Chocolate can be very dangerous for dogs and if consumed in large amounts can be life threatening. The toxicity of chocolate depends on the dog’s weight, type of chocolate as well as the amount the dog digests.

Why is chocolate toxic for my dog?

Theobromine – a main ingredient in chocolate which although for humans is easy to digest, for our furry friends – not so much.

There are various levels of theobromine in different types of chocolate. Milk and white chocolate have the lowest levels, while dark and cooking chocolate have the highest. Less than 4oz of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 12kg dog.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Weakness

What should I do if my dog eats some chocolate?

If you think that your pet has chocolate poisoning, get in touch with your vet as soon as possible.

There is no definitive cure for chocolate poisoning and treatment will usually be based on damage limitation, this sometimes includes inducing vomiting to limit the amount of theobromine that can get into your pet’s system.

What treats can I give my dog?

Treats don’t have to be off the agenda completely and there’s no harm in giving your dog the occasional tasty treat. Specialist treats and chews are a much better alternative to chocolate or high calorie human food, and will often contain vital ingredients for your pet’s health.

Just remember that treats count as part of your dog’s daily food intake, so keep an eye on your dog’s overall weight and body condition to ensure they’re not becoming overweight.

 

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