We’ve heard of dingoes stealing babies, but of chocolates killing dogs? Uh-huh. You’re pulling my leg, aren’t you? Not at all:  And it’s not even bad publicity for chocolate makers. Chocolates could kill dogs.

Theobromine on humans

You can say only the best things about this chocolate compound called theobromine. It is known as a stimulant, which explains that good feeling you get after taking a bite out of that dark bar. Theobromine has the same effect on humans as caffeine– in which case it could be toxic to humans too. Caffeine could be toxic to us if we’ve had too much of it.   Children are more prone to getting theobromine overdose from eating too much chocolate and adults get the same from drinking too much coffee (or eating chocolate, as the case may be).

Chocolate Kill Dogs Why Does Chocolate Kill Dogs

Otherwise, theobromine has no known side effects on humans except for the famed “aphrodisiac” role it plays.  We can metabolize theobromine quickly and put it to use just as fast.  In fact theobromine has a number of health benefits for humans, some of which are: heartbeat stimulation, easy blood circulation, stopping cough, and sharpening mental focus.

Theobromine on animals

But animals such as birds, horses, rodents, cats, and especially dogs, cannot metabolize theobromine as efficiently as we can. So when they take in a bar of dark chocolate, for example, theobromine stays in the bloodstream for more than a day, thus causing heart attacks, seizures, and internal hemorrhage.  In many cases this ends up in death.  That’s how potent chocolate is. In horse racing, chocolate is banned and treated with the same level of disdain as illegal drugs.

Some chocolates have more theobromine than others

Naturally the most potent source of theobromine is dark chocolate with more than 50% cocoa. Milk chocolates have lower theobromine content. The level of toxicity is based on the dog’s weight and the chocolate’s theobromine content.  For a small dog, it only takes a small bite out of a dark bar, and he’s gone.

A scientific circle once conducted an experiment on how toxic chocolate can be to a 50 pound dog. A group of veterinarians fed a dog with 115 mg of dark chocolate, and it went into seizures. Give your dog more than that and it would cut its chances of surviving by 50 %. Dark chocolate has twice as much theobromine than milk chocolate.

Dog Chocolate Why Does Chocolate Kill Dogs

Signs of seizure

You would know your dog has eaten chocolate if it shows these signs:

  • extreme excitement
  • paranoia
  • excessive thirst
  • vomiting,
  • frequent peeing
  • diarrhea

In extreme cases lasting 12-hours, the dog can have muscle spasms and later go into coma. If your dog shows any of these signs, it could come down with a cardiac arrest in no time.

What to do if your dog accidentally eats chocolate

If your dog exhibits any or all of these signs, take it to an animal clinic right away. Your vet knows what to do next. For your part, there’s almost nothing you can do when the chocolate effect sets in. In order to get your dog out of harm’s way, don’t let it loose and keep your chocolates out of its reach—and yours, too.

Further Readings:

Categories: Animals

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