This time of year rings in many things. Warmer weather, lighter days, cute fluffy chicks and… CHOCOLATE! At DogBuddy HQ we want all the chocolate.
We see various articles floating around that chocolate’s dangerous for dogs, but aren’t told why it’s bad for them. In the run-up to Easter, today’s blog post is all about why chocolate is dangerous for our four-legged friends.
What is Chocolate Made From?
Chocolate’s made from the cocoa bean after it has been roasted and ground and is often mixed with a flavours such as vanilla.
Once the beans are fermented, dried and roasted, the ground cocoa mass is liquified into two types:
- cocoa solids, and
- cocoa butter
These cocoa solids contain a dangerous chemical to animals – theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant (the same as caffeine) and has direct effects on the body. These effects include lowering blood pressure and stimulating the central and nervous systems.
Theobromine is toxic to animals because they cannot metabolise it as quickly as we humans can.
Theobromine in Chocolate
Here are some results on the amount of theobromine found per ounce in different types of chocolate:
- Cocoa powder: 800 mg /oz
- Unsweetened cooking chocolate: 450 mg /oz
- Dark chocolate: 150 mg /oz
- Milk chocolate: 50 mg /oz
As you can see from the above figures, cocoa powder contains sixteen times more theobromine per ounce over milk chocolate.
We’ve left out white chocolate from this list because it lacks cocoa solids and contains an insignificant amount of theobromine.
How Do I Know If My Dog’s Eaten Chocolate?
If you suspect your pooch has happily helped himself to your Easter egg stash then be aware of the following symptoms:
- increased urination
- hyperactive behaviour
- rapid heart rate
- muscular spasms
- excessive panting
- digestive problems
What Do I Do If My Dog’s Eaten Chocolate?
If you find your dog suffering from the above symptoms then get him to a Veterinary Surgery asap. Unfortunately, once the theobromine is in a dog’s bloodstream very little can be done to treat the poisoning. Your best bet is to try and stop the chemical from reaching the bloodstream by doing the following:
- Use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in your dog immediately. This will help remove much of the chocolate.
- Once you’ve induced vomiting, feed your dog a small amount of activated charcoal. This binds to the theobromine, thus stopping it from entering the bloodstream.
- In the meantime, try to keep your dog hydrated by getting him to drink as much water as possible.
- Once you get to the Vet’s, drugs such as anticonvulsants will help him survive if he’s having seizures.
To avoid the chance of your puppy getting poisoned, do not feed him chocolate. Don’t even be tempted to, even if he’s giving you puppy eyes. If you have kids please remember to pass this message onto them.
We’ve posted a recipe on making your very own dog-friendly Easter egg on the DogBuddy blog here.