Chocolate and Dogs

Everybody loves special holidays such as Valentines Day, Easter or Christmas and the delicious chocolate that come along with it. Well, everyone except your dog, that is.  As much as pet owners like to share holiday treats and goodies with our four-legged friends, we must never share our chocolates as dogs and chocolate do not mix.

Dogs generally love the smell and even the taste of chocolate. However, they will not love the after-effects of having chocolate poisoning that is likely to follow.

Chocolate is Toxic for Dogs

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, even if the sweet-toothed pups don’t understand this. Sadly it can be perilous when even the smallest amount is ingested.

The cocoa bean plant contains a poisonous chemical called Theobromine. This toxin is a naturally occurring stimulant that has dangerous effects on dogs’ central nervous system and the heart. Therefore you are essentially putting their systems in a state of panic.

Time is of the essence.

It’s often quite difficult to know when and how much chocolate a dog has eaten, especially if all you have is a pile of shiny wrappers. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning don’t always appear immediately, with some not appearing until 8 hours have passed after consuming the chocolate. If you know that your pet has only eaten a tiny square of choccie or a couple of M and M’s, don’t panic, chances are he will be fine. However, if he has scoffed a larger amount, especially baking or dark chocolate, contact your Vet for further advice.

The size of the dog matters

A larger sized dog can eat a lot more chocolate than a tiny pup before he suffers any health problems. Likewise, different brands and types of chocolate contain different amounts of theobromine toxins. Dark chocolate, cooking chocolate and cocoa all have high levels and affect your dog the most. White and milk chocolate both have lesser quantities of poisonous chemicals. I usually have white chocolate if | do have any in the house. That way, if my dogs somehow get hold of it, the damage is not as bad.

If your dog eats just a small amount of human chocolate, he will probably have diarrhoea or vomit with an upset tummy. However, when consumed by a dog, larger amounts of chocolate can have devastating effects.

Whilst we don’t recommend giving your dog chocolate, if they do get hold of some, you see how harmful it will be with this calculator from vet-now

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning

Our four-legged friends are likely to experience many terrible symptoms as a result of eating more than just a tiny amount of chocolate.

Watch your animal closely if you think your dog may have eaten chocolates, keeping an extra close eye out for the following symptoms:

• Frequent urination.
• Muscle twitching.
• Vomiting and diarrhoea.
• An usually fast heartbeat (arrhythmia).
• Being more restless than normal.
• Clearly in discomfort.

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How to Treat your Dog if it Eats chocolate

Depending on the amount of chocolate the animal has ingested and certain variables about the dog specifically, including size and weight, general health, and the dog’s age, symptoms will vary in severity. Signs of chocolate poisoning can start to present within just a few minutes or not be apparent for several hours, so if you know for certain or suspect it has been eaten, it is imperative to contact your Vet immediately.

Time is of the essence when it comes to treating your pooch, so it is best to induce vomiting and empty the contents of the stomach, ideally before the toxins have time to reach the animal’s bloodstream.

The Vet has many relief aids available to assist in treatment, including drugs to induce vomiting, careful professional monitoring of the dog’s condition, medications to regulate the heartbeat, and charcoal to absorb any remaining poison in the stomach.

Prevention is better than cure?

Whilst holiday times generally mean more chocolate and sweets around the house. Many people have chocolate all year round.

Remember, when enjoying a chocolate bar, it is essential to make sure you don’t drop any or give it to the dog to be safe. dogs and chocolate

Below are a few more chocolate and dogs safety tips to follow

  • Keep all chocolate products out of the reach of children and dogs. This includes hot chocolate or cocoa powder, cholate sweets like Maltese and minstrels and chocolate bars. In fact, anything that gas chocolate or cocoa powder in. Ensure all these products are in a lockable container and are on a high shelf out of reach

  • So that your dog can share join in the celebrations with you, why not buy him special chocolate? Pet shops do dog safe chocolate that they can enjoy with you as a treat. However, it is still best to only give them small amounts at a time.
  • Ensure that you get rid of all the wrappers. and leftovers. The wrappers etc. should be disposed of in a secure bin, Ideally straight into the wheelie bin outside so the dogs can’t get them.

In conclusion, dogs and chocolate don’t go together.

Please note that Finchley Dog Walker are not medical professionals. We always encourage you to contact your Vet if your dog has eaten anything he shouldn’t do.

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