Dogs and Chocolate: A Deadly Combination
Your love of chocolate has turned you into a real chocolate aficionado. You make a sinfully good chocolate dessert every chance you get, and you keep a bowl of chocolate bites on the table at home. You know your dog Beau loves chocolate, too, because he once grabbed two pieces out of your hand, snarfing them down before you could catch him. Fortunately for Beau, he appeared none the worse for wear after your Reynoldsburg veterinarian evaluated him.
Why Chocolate Is Harmful – Chocolate is loaded with theobromine, a high-powered stimulant, and also contains smaller amounts of caffeine. When ingested, theobromine raises Beau’s blood pressure, speeds up his heart and central nervous system, and brings on digestive upset (now here’s the gift that keeps on giving).
Dangers of Specific Varieties – Baker’s, unsweetened, and dark chocolate contain the most theobromine, and therefore pose the most danger to curious, ravenous canines. Candies or cakes containing cocoa, along with white or milk chocolate, bring less risk but are still not safe for dogs to eat. Regardless of the type of chocolate, small dogs will be most affected by eating it, as just a small bit of chocolate can overstimulate their small bodies.
Chocolate Toxicity Effects – Dogs who have consumed toxic amounts of chocolate appear to be thirsty, excited or agitated, and may have vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, the dog might suffer seizures and lapse into a coma, and could eventually die.
Fast Veterinary Treatment Is Key – Before your Reynoldsburg vet can treat Beau’s chocolate emergency, the vet needs to know the type and quantity of chocolate your hungry pooch consumed (and hopefully, you saw him commit the crime). If Beau can receive treatment within 4-8 hours of ingesting the chocolate, the vet might be able to prevent the theobromine from entering Beau’s bloodstream. A special charcoal-containing medicine can bind to the chocolate, preventing absorption and allowing for elimination in Beau’s next batch of poop. If he’s already absorbed the toxin, the vet can administer specialized treatment that might help Beau recover.
Of course, prevention is always the best strategy. Make sure your chocolate treats, baking ingredients, and even chocolate-flavored coffee creamers are stored out of Beau’s reach. Keeping him away from the chocolate, and channeling his curiosity elsewhere, increase his chances of a healthy, fun-loving life with you and your family.