Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate?
Who doesn’t love chocolate, right? A whiff of roasted cocoa beans can make anyone’s mouth water, but unfortunately, chocolates and dogs don’t blend! Even the tiniest amount of chocolate ingestion can trigger a medical emergency for dogs, and in rare cases, a dog can even die from eating chocolate.
If your furry friend has accidentally been exposed to chocolate, don’t panic. According to the American Kennel Club, the symptoms usually start appearing between 6-12 hours after consumption which gives you ample time to take your dog to the vet and find a quick antidote.
Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?
Just like humans, your furry friends will happily devour a bar of this lovely delight so the concern shouldn’t be if they can eat chocolate or not. Instead, it should be the aftermath that follows and compels you to make sure that they don’t!
While many dogs are treated for ingesting chocolate every year, you may have also heard of candy-consuming canines that are perfectly safe. So, what’s the deal here? Well, it’s the dose that makes all the difference.
There is a group of chemicals in chocolate, known as methylxanthines. Two of the components in methylxanthines, caffeine and theobromine, are toxic for dogs. Humans can metabolize theobromine and caffeine easily but a dog’s digestive system is not capable of safely digesting these chemicals — making chocolate hazardous for dogs.
These two components trigger the adenosine receptors that are responsible for making us feel sleepy. When your dog cannot process large amounts of methylxanthines, it results in nausea and vomiting, followed by other poisoning symptoms.
Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has accidentally ingested chocolate, you should immediately reach out to your vet or the pet poison helpline. Also, try and find out how much chocolate was consumed by your dog and inform the veterinarian at once. The sooner the treatment begins, the easier decontamination is. Here’s a possible treatment plan that your dog’s vet may opt for:
- If identified early enough, your vet will induce vomiting to start the body’s decontamination process.
- Next, they’ll administer activated charcoal to help prevent the absorption of theobromine into the dog’s body. In most cases, these two steps will be enough to reverse poisoning.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
The symptoms may take up to 12 hours to surface and can end up lasting for days. It’s tricky if your dog ends up consuming chocolate behind your back. Here are a few clinical symptoms to watch out for:
- Increased thirst
- Restlessness or panting
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension and incoordination
- Increased heart rate, seizures and more
Chocolate Alternatives to Treat Your Dog With
Carob is a great alternative to chocolate and is perfectly safe for dogs. Besides carob, there’s peanut butter for dogs that can be used occasionally as a treat. Not only is it a great alternative to chocolate, but it’s also super healthy for your pooch and just as delicious (if not more). Just make sure that you purchase peanut butter that’s specifically made for dogs. You can also use your regular peanut butter jar at home but make sure it doesn’t have any chocolate or Xylitol in it.
To Summarize Briefly
Certain types of chocolates with higher portions of theobromine and caffeine may be more harmful than others. For instance, dark chocolate is usually considered the most toxic. You must also be precautious about keeping chocolates in your home. Keep them in hard-to-reach places so your kids and dogs can’t get a hold of them. If there are kids at home, teach them that feeding chocolate to dogs is not allowed! Lastly, if your pooch ever ends up with chocolate poisoning, reach out to a vet instantly!