How Chocolate Makes a Dog Sick
Toxicity in Dogs
Dogs seem to enjoy chocolate as much as humans do. However, a dog who ingests chocolate may suffer serious side effects. Chocolate is produced from the roasted seeds of cacao nut. Two chemical elements found in chocolate can have adverse effects on your dog. Caffeine and theobromine. Both compounds may make a dog ill and it is possible for a fatal reaction to occur.
Symptoms caused by the ingestion of chocolate include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle rigidity, seizures, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, cardiac failure, weakness and coma. A tiny bit of chocolate may not cause any symptoms in a large dog. In the correct quantities, chocolate has adverse affects on dogs. Only 0.3 ounces of baking chocolate or semi sweet chocolate can make a 20 pound dog ill. It would take 0.7 ounces of milk chocolate to make the same 20 pound dog ill. For a large dog, 100 pounds or more, 1.5 ounces of semi sweet or bakers chocolate or 3.5 ounces of milk choclate would have to be ingested to produce serious side effects.
Never feed your dog anything that includes chocolate. Keep your chocolate treats out of reach of your dog.
If your dog accidentally ingests chocolate a visit to the veterinarian may be necessary. The doctor will complete a physical exam that may include a urinalysis and blood profile. An ECG may also be performed to make sure the dog is not experiencing any cardiac trauma.
Before rushing the dog to the vet, call ahead to see if there is something you can do to help your dog before he is brought to be examined. Sometimes just keeping the dog cool and calm is enough. Other times the doctor may ask you to keep your dog hydrated or even to induce vomiting. Syrup of Ipecac can be used to induce vomiting.
If your dog is experiencing a seizure, twitching or muscle contractions and trouble breathing, It will be necessary to take him to the vet immediately. The doctor may have to inject a steroid substance like cortisone to control the seizure. Wrap your dog in a blanket and try to keep him calm when taking him to the vet.
To avoid accidental ingestion, keep chocolate far away from your dogs. Store chocolate in a tight container up high in a cool dry place. I like to reuse tin cookie containers. Teach your children not to feed anything chocolaty to your dog. Keep a stash of gourmet treats within reach to reward and praise your dog. Dogs can be fed people food as treats but just as chocolate should definitely be avoided you must also avoid feeding grapes, raisins, onion or garlic to your dog. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic contain elements that are toxic for your pet.
Here are some recommended treats which your dog will thoroughly enjoy:
- Watermelon - without seeds
- Frozen bananas
- Green beans
- Carrots - raw or cooked
- Sweet potato
- Squash, zucchin
- Popcorn - unsalted and unbuttered
- goat cheese
- beef bones
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