Chocolates are wonderful and taste delightful, to say the least. If you are going to break your sugar-free diet for a quick treat, what better snack than chocolate? Chocolate contains flavonoids, vitamins, fat, and considerable protein and fiber. Moreover, chocolate is known to boost serotonin and dopamine levels, improving mood and libido.
So, the question remains; is it bad for dogs to eat chocolate? Looking at all the upsides, one can forgive anyone who thinks chocolate would also be a good snack for dogs. But in actuality, chocolate is unsafe for dogs, and eating it may poison them.
Why Is Chocolate Unsafe for Dogs?
Chocolate of all types contains some amount of theobromine, and some specific types also contain caffeine. These two compounds work as stimulants in humans, but they affect dogs quite differently. Dogs cannot metabolize theobromine quickly so in return it builds up in the system and has negative effects. Suppose your dog ingested a single M&M; this might not be cause for alarm. The quantity of the chocolate, relative to the size of your pup, may not prompt a medical emergency. However, should your dog eat a chocolate bar or a sizable quantity of chocolate pastry, the theobromine can cause high blood pressure and heart disorders.
The sugar and fat levels in chocolate can also be harmful to dogs. Sugar can cause stomach discomfort, and fat can cause pancreatitis. Typically, darker chocolates contain more theobromine because they are less processed, while white chocolate contains less theobromine but lots of sugar. Either way, the effects of the chocolate ingested would depend on the type of chocolate, the quantity eaten, and the size of your pooch.
Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning
The clinical signs of chocolate poisoning can sometimes be confused with other forms of poisoning, so you should be careful before self-diagnosing your dog. If you suspect your dog may have eaten chocolate, you should watch out for the following symptoms:
- Tremors in the muscles and limbs
- Irregular heartbeats
- Increased heart rate
Treating Chocolate Poisoning
A veterinarian can instigate many measures to treat chocolate poisoning. Sometimes, a combination of therapeutic procedures is needed. They usually include:
- IV fluids for easy excretion of theobromine.
- An emetic such as hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting and expel chocolate in the stomach.
- Activated charcoal to absorb theobromine in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Heart medication to help achieve a steady heart rate and blood pressure.
- Antacids to relieve stomach irritation.
If your pet is showing signs indicative of chocolate poisoning, contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for expert advice to help save your beloved pet.