“Chocolate Toxicosis” might sound like a desirable state of being to a chocoholic but the term describes a possibly fatal poisoning that can occur if your pet consumes the sweet treat.
Dogs are particularly susceptible to chocolate toxicity and there is no safe amount; as little as 1 ounce per pound of body weight can be a lethal dose for your dog.
How can something that humans love so much be so bad for animals? The answer is a combination of theobromine and caffeine which are naturally found in the cocoa bean and act as stimulants.
Generally the darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains. Here are common cocoa and chocolate products in order from the most toxic to least toxic:
- Dry cocoa powder
- Unsweetened baking squares
- Semisweet chocolate and sweet dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate and chocolate syrup
Even cocoa bean hulls that you use in garden mulch are a danger. After consuming chocolate your pet may exhibit symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures and a racing heart rhythm.
If this occurs, get to the vet. It’s hard to overstate the dangers of chocolate in dogs. Even a small amount of chocolate to us can cause kidney troubles, elevated heart rate and hyperactivity in dogs.
If your dog ingests chocolate, immediately take your pet to the hospital and bring the wrapper. There, the vets can take the appropriate action.
There is no real antidote for chocolate toxicity, so the best your vet can do is to detox your animal and flush out the system as soon as possible.
Your vet will provide various treatments that might include: inducing vomiting, flushing the intestinal tract, extra fluids, muscle relaxants, minimizing seizures, excitement and stress.
For your dogs, chocolate remains a forbidden food, but they don’t know that chocolate can be lethal. Thus, it is up to you, the wise and loving owner, to keep the treats out of reach. And honestly, making sure your pet maintains a chocolate free diet isn’t so bad: At the end of the day, it leaves more for you!