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Chocolate And Dogs
Sweet, But Dangerous!

The topic of chocolate and dogs often leads to the question: can a dog die from chocolate?

Well the simple answer is yes, which is a good enough reason to always keep it out of your dog's reach. And, be especially diligent on those more chocolaty occasions such as birthdays, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Christmas, etc.

Sad as it may seem, a food that's irresistible to most people has to be kept away from your dog because it can be lethal. Actually, it's a well-know fact that dogs can crave chocolate as much as humans, once they get to sample it.

Add to that another fact that dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to find and eat things that can lead to digestive problems for them! So, in addition to safely hiding your bars of chocolate, don't overlook the chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake you just baked!

Why Chocolate Is A Toxic Treat

The downside of chocolate as it relates to dogs, is that it contains caffeine plus a substance called theobromine. These substances are known to stimulate the heart and central nervous system plus have a diuretic effect.

Whereas, humans can metabolize both of these ingredients in a couple of hours, it is quite a different story for dogs. A dog's liver has to work long and hard to clear these chemicals from its system. This can take up to eighteen hours!

Dogs that have eaten chocolate need prompt treatment to remove the toxic substances.

Symptoms After Pets Eat Chocolate

Depending on the amount a dog has ingested, the symptoms can range from very severe to mild. Vomiting, diarrhea and increased thirst are some of the first indicators to look for if your dog has eaten chocolate. More severe symptoms that appear later can include hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors and seizures.

The best thing you can do when you suspect your dog has consumed chocolate, is to call, or go directly to, your vet.

Your vet will most likely want to induce vomiting if your dog hasn't already brought up the contents of his stomach. If the heartbeats are irregular or rapid, he will want to get it stabilized, If diarrhea is present, your dog will need to drink a lot of water. Your vet may also advise a treatment regimen of activated charcoal mixed with water to counteract the absorption of the toxin.

Can A Dog Die From Chocolate?
The Answer Depends On A Few Things

What happens after a dog ingests chocolate greatly depends on the size of the dog, the breed of dog, the amount of chocolate consumed, the type of chocolate and to some extent the health condition of the dog.

The most toxic chocolate of all to dogs is in the form of cocoa powder. Among the bars of hard chocolate, the very dark kind used for baking is the most dangerous.

How Much Chocolate Is Too Much?

Just to give you an idea...according to the National Animal Poison Control Center at the University of Illinois:

A 1.6 ounce bar of milk chocolate eaten by a 10-lb dog could cause bad reactions. But if the 10-lb dog ate the same amount of unsweetened baker's chocolate, it could result in death.

If you really want to check out the effects of different types of chocolate on different breeds, there is a very handly widget to do this. You can find it here at National Geographic.

The Sweet Alternative

Even though your family dog can't eat the chocolate made for human consumption, some manufacturers have created chocolate treats that are safe alternative for dogs. Maybe he won't notice the difference because it smells similar too!

So if you plan to satisfy your dog's taste for chocolate, my recommendation would be to look for the chocolate-tasting dog treats that are made with carob which has a very similar taste, but is considered a safe alternative to chocolate.

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Related pages you might also like:

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› Chocolate and Dogs



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