Why cant dogs eat chocolate?

November 30, 2009 by  
Filed under All about Dogs

We all know that a dog is a man’s best friend. There are some people for whom chocolate is also a great friend and one that they love to be friendly towards also.

We should never share our love of chocolate with our favourite pooch. Many pet owners have probably heard this somewhere, but perhaps never knew the reasons why.

Does it apply to all things chocolate, for instance?

Chocolate is made from the cacao plant. We should never share our morning cup of hot cocoa with our pet dog either. Cocoa is made from the crushed beans of the same plant that chocolate is made from. Other products including cocoa butter and cocoa paste are also manufactured from this plant.

Chocolate contains cocoa paste, cocoa butter, sugar, an emulsifier or stabilising agent and vanilla, usually added as a flavouring agent.

We should be careful about sharing foods that we eat and enjoy with our pets. Loving is caring. We should research for any known problems inherent in any food substance that we are unsure about.

Chocolate contains the naturally occurring stimulant theobromine. This compound is a heart stimulant and a diuretic. It affects the central nervous system and constricts blood vessels. Theobromine known also as xantheose from its synthetic form xanthine is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, first discovered in 1841 in cacao beans.

The effect on your dog is not usually immediate. A larger dog will take longer to show the effects. Dogs will become over excited or hyperactive. They will only be restless in the milder cases. In the worst cases the dog might start to spasm and go into a seizure and stiffen up in their body. This is distressing for both the dog and its owner.

Dog’s are as precious to most of us as our children. We need to be extra vigilant not to carelessly and unnecessarily harm our pet dog. Once dogs taste chocolate they will want more. Most dogs have the same type of sweet tooth as their owners do, but they eat more rapidly. They can ingest large amounts of unusual foods.

Urination increases because the chocolate promotes urine flow. This causes the dog to dehydrate, to be thirsty and to start panting. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. Theobromine weakens the heart and increases the dog’s heart rate, or it may cause an irregular heartbeat. These are serious ailments. If the dog is still running around exercising, death could easily result from the extra strain on their heart.

The first signs of your dog being sick may not be visible for a few hours after consuming chocolate. You may not even associate the symptoms with its cause, the chocolate. Immediate intervention is required however. If left untreated death will follow within about twenty four hours depending on the size of your dog.

There is no known antidote, but your vet can induce vomiting and use other methods to prevent heart failure. The quicker the chocolate is removed the better the chances for your dog to recover. Prevention remains the best cure.

Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. Other forms of darker eating and sweet chocolate come next. Milk chocolate is the least dangerous.

Never share any chocolate at all with your dog. When it is your dog’s birthday, never let it lick the chocolate icing on its cake. Eat it all yourself! If your other kids are enjoying a chocolate icy pole, tell them never to let Fido have a big slurp of it, not even on a very hot day.

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