Chocolate, delicious chocolate is simply adored by many of us. Some people rarely allow themselves such a treat, while others crave chocolate every day. Some of us have only one favorite chocolate, while others have a select palette. We all have different tastes, but it’s hard to find a person who does not like this sweetness. And since we adore our pets, we want to share the most delicious with them. But chocolate is exactly the thing that we should never give to our dogs. But why can’t dogs eat chocolate?
Why is chocolate forbidden to dogs?
Chocolate contains large amounts of caffeine and a substance called theobromine. Both of them belong to the group of natural stimulants, which causes chocolate toxicosis in dogs. Substances affect the nervous system and can increase heart rate, stimulate urination, cause vomiting and diarrhea and make the animal restless.
Why can people eat chocolate and dogs not?
Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine in the same way as humans. Substances accumulate in the body of the animal in an amount that can be toxic or even fatal. For example, a dog will need 17 and a half hours to assimilate and isolate only half of the swallowed theobromine. In addition, if the dogs find chocolate in the house, they will eat it in much larger quantities than humans. Theobromine poisoning can be caused by as little as 10 grams of dark chocolate for a small dog and 150 grams for a medium-sized dog.
What are toxic and lethal doses?
A dose of 100-200 mg / kg of theobromine can kill 50 percent of dogs that ate chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate intoxication (vomiting, diarrhea, increased water intake and urination) can be seen after ingestion already from 20 mg / kg.
White chocolate, which is not really cocoa bean chocolate, is not a significant source of theobromine and caffeine.
The best way to cure chocolate toxicosis is prevention. If your dog has the opportunity to find a source of chocolate at home, the likelihood of poisoning is quite high. Teach your dog not to eat chocolate and make sure that chocolate is definitely not available.
If you find that your dog has eaten chocolate, or if the animal shows any signs of chocolate intoxication, such as anxiety, excessive thirst, urination and diarrhea, call your veterinarian immediately and tell him the number and type of chocolate eaten, the time the chocolate was eaten and the size of the pet itself. The main help with chocolate intoxication is:
- If the meal was recent, your veterinarian will instruct you on the phone exactly how to induce vomiting, or you will take your dog to the hospital to induce vomiting with a specialist. After the animal will be given activated charcoal, and ultimately its stomach will be cleansed.
- If more time has passed and the toxin has already been absorbed, your veterinarian will provide supportive therapy to help your dog’s body detoxify. Supportive care may include: drugs to control increased irritability and cardiac arrhythmias, as well as fluids to increase the excretion of toxins in the urine.
Dogs cannot absorb theobromine as effectively as humans. This allows it to accumulate in their system until it reaches toxic concentration levels. This can lead to various health problems, including death from heart failure. The less the dog weighs, the more you need to worry, because the level of toxicity will be higher.
Although cats are even more sensitive to theobromine, they are less likely to eat chocolate. They are much more choosy in food, and some studies have shown that they do not like to try sweets due to the lack of receptors that distinguish them. Dogs are more likely to sit at the owner’s feet with these large, mournful eyes asking for everything you eat, including chocolate.
A puppy, an old or unhealthy dog will not be able to cope with the toxic effects of theobromine and caffeine just like a large, young, healthy dog. So if your dog ate chocolate, it’s better to pay your veterinarian for proper cleansing of the stomach than to wait until it’s too late.