Chocolate is Extremely Toxic to Dogs

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Chocolate is a favorite treat for humans.  They love chocolate so much and sometimes they share this delicacy with their dog.  Dogs also like chocolate and they do not know it can kill them.  If your dog finds an open bag of chocolates he will wolf them down.  You may just clean up the mess and not give the incident a second thought.  Several hours after your dog eats the chocolate he will collapse and die.  You do not even think about the chocolate he ate.  You are wondering what would cause a healthy dog to die so suddenly.  You are thinking it must be a new terrible virus.

The truth is there is no new terrible virus.  The chocolate your dog ate is what killed him.  The substance in the chocolate that is so deadly to a dog is called Theobromide.  The size of the dog and type of chocolate has a lot to do with how much it will take to be toxic to a dog. 

Holidays are especially dangerous times for dogs.  There is always a lot of candy setting around for everyone to eat.  Our dogs are considered members of the family so it is only natural for us to share our holiday treats with them.  The sad thing is that this is one treat they should never share with you.

Unsweetened or baking chocolate is the most dangerous as it contains the highest percentage of Theobromide per ounce.  It has 400 MG per ounce as compared to 45 MG per ounce in milk chocolate.  Usually toxic symptoms will occur when 100 MG of Theobromide are ingested per 2.2 pounds of the dog’s weight.  A 20 pound dog can die if he eats 2 ounces of baking chocolate.

The symptoms of Theobromide poisoning are numerous and they appear within a few hours or up to a day after the dog has eaten the chocolate.  Chocolate will stay in the dog’s stomach for a long time.   the Theobromide is absorbed into the bloodstream.  Your dog’s symptoms of chocolate toxicity will be vomiting, diarrhea, loss of urine control, hyperactivity, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, muscle tremors, seizures and coma.

There is no antidote for Theobromide poisoning.  Treatment is geared toward supporting the animals basic life functions, preventing further absorption of the chocolate, hastening elimination, and treating the symptoms.  If less than two hours have passed since the dog ate the chocolate the first step is to induce vomiting.  This should get rid of 70 percent of the stomachs contents.  The chocolate can melt and form a ball in the stomach.  This ball can be difficult to remove.  If the dog has eaten an amount that can be toxic it is not enough to just induce vomiting.  The dog should be placed under the care of a veterinarian until the danger has passed.  The veterinarian will give the dog repeated doses of activated charcoal to move the poison through his system faster and with less absorption.  The dog’s heart rate and respiration must be carefully monitored during this treatment.  The best treatment is prevention of the dog eating chocolate in the first place.  Keep your dog out of danger by never leaving chocolate within easy reach of your dog.  Never feed your dog chocolate candy as a treat.  Never assume the animal is fine if he vomits after eating chocolate.

Chocolate poisoning is a killer that can be prevented form killing.  If you think your dog has eaten chocolate consult a veterinarian immediately.

Veterinary medicine is continually making advancements in diagnosis and treatment of illnesses in pets.  There are new medications coming out all the time.  Consult your veterinarian and he will advise you of the latest treatments available.



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