The Dangers of Chocolate and Your Dog

By Kim Casey, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Kim is a huge animal lover and proud owner of two labs. Kim is also an Internet marketer and works closely with The Beach Dog Daycare in Newburyport. She enjoys writing and researching combined with blogging. She is an independent marketer and is self-employed but being an animal lover The Beach Dog Daycare is one of her favorite clients.
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Happy Valentine’s Day from The Beach Dog Daycare! Considering Valentine’s day is a widely celebrated holiday when giving chocolate is a must have The Beach Dog thought it would be a good opportunity to address the issues of the dangers of chocolate and your dog.

How can such a joyful treat for us humans have such dangerous consequences to your dog? There are a few factors. Chocolate contains an alkaloid called methylxanthine Theobromine. This chemical compound is a caffeine like substance that has a diuretic effect. When humans ingest it we have the ability to break it down without feeling the side affects. When a dog ingests theobromine the stimulants are substantially more active and can cause heart palpitations, and it can dilate the blood vessels. More concerning is the fact that most dogs don’t have the ability to eat just a few of the chocolates and will typically eat them until the chocolate is gone, potentially overdosing on the theobromine; there by making the dangers of chocolate and your dog quite serious.

If you think your dog has ingested chocolate contact your vet immediately. Each veterinarian may proceed differently. Some will advise an office visit as soon as possible, some my have you induce vomiting at home. This is usually instructed by giving your dog 1tbs. of hydrogen peroxide per every 20lbs. of your dog’s weight.  Some vets recommend just observing your dog and watching for symptoms. Luckily nature has given your dog a built in safety rejection for poisoning and he or she may vomit on their own. Here are some symptoms to watch for.

Symptoms of a chocolate overdose and your dog:

The dangers of chocolate and your Dog depend on the quality of the chocolate, Better brands of chocolate dictate how much theobromine are in the sweets. Basically the better brands have more chocolate in them. Cheaper chocolates have less coco bean and may not affect your dog at all. The darker the chocolate the more potent the theobromine will be in the treat.

The VCA Animal Hospitals breaks down the amount of theobromine as compared with the symptoms as follows:

  • 20mg/kg: excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea,
  • 40mg/kg: racing heart, high blood pressure, and heart arrhythmias,
  • 60mg/kg: neurologic signs, tremors, twitching and seizures
  • fatalities are usually seen with ingestion of 200mg/kg or pound of chocolate.

A safe alternative is carob and this is what is typically used in dog treats that you can purchase so your dog thinks he’s getting the tasty treats.

So enjoy your Valentine’s Day but be sure to keep chocolate at a safe distance from your dog.  The dangers of chocolate and your dog can have horrible affects should he or she try your tasty holiday sweets.