In certain amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can harm and potentially kill your dog due to their toxic chemicals which pups simply can't process. There are a lot of factors that go into how your dog will be affected by chocolate, like their size, the amount of chocolate eaten, and the type of chocolate. If you suspect that your dog has ingested chocolate, take him to the dogtor immediately! For more info about how and why chocolate affects dogs, read on!
Signs That Your Pooch May Have Eaten Chocolate
For starters, keep an eye out for crumbs all over the floor, empty wrappers, and missing chocolate - that's your first hint.
Sometimes pups will show direct symptoms of chocolate poisoning, so keep an eye out for digestive irregularities like vomiting, diarrhea, and loose stool. Other dogs might be excessively thirsty and unable to stop drinking water. Unusual behaviors that aren't normal for your dog can be clear signs that something is wrong. If your dog is very hyperactive or agitated, is excessively panting or has very rigid muscles, keep a close eye on them. Pacing and other odd behaviors can also occur. In worst cases, dogs can experience seizures after chocolate ingestion, so be sure to take these tell-tale signs of a problem seriously.
- Severe hyperactivity
- Muscle rigidity
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart attack
The History of Chocolate and Dogs
Today, we know from various case studies conducted during the past few decades that cacao seeds are toxic for canines. Researchers have found that chocolate is a poison for dogs which can cause severe pain and complications, and even death. Many of those studies found that dogs were unable to digest an alkaloid found in chocolate called theobromine. According to vets, the stimulant caffeine in chocolate is also harmful to pups.
One study examined a 4-year-old Labrador who had eaten Easter chocolates. The dog vomited a small amount of brown liquid, was visibly shaking, and was restless with rigid muscles. Vets discovered that these were all symptoms of chocolate toxicity and were able to diagnose and remedy the problem, all while proving that chocolate is a toxic substance for pups.
Why is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?
So why is chocolate bad for dogs? The answer lies in two specific chemicals, the alkaloid theobromine and the stimulant caffeine. Theobromine is too hard for dogs to metabolize, making digestion a slow process that allows time for toxic levels of the chemical to build up in their system. This overwhelms a dog's body and causes the symptoms we see. Additionally, caffeine could make your dog's heart race and cause seizures.
The situation can be further confusing for those owners who have seen their dogs eat a small amount of chocolate and have no problems, while other pups have life-threatening symptoms. Are some dogs allergic to chocolate? The truth is that all dogs can be poisoned by eating chocolate, regardless of individual immune systems.
How much chocolate is toxic for dogs is all dependent on the size of the dog, and the type and amount of chocolate they consume. Different kinds of chocolate contain varying amounts of theobromine, with dark chocolate being the highest. A giant dog can generally handle a touch of milk chocolate, but tiny dogs can be poisoned from small amounts of any kind of chocolate. If this info has led you to think that dogs can eat chocolate sometimes, know that any chocolate consumption can pose a serious threat to your pupper's well-being. All in all, make sure you take your pup to the vet, or give them a call if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, no matter the kind of chocolate or dog.
How to Train Yourself to Keep Chocolate From Your Dog
First and foremost, make sure you're always keeping chocolate away from your dog's reach. Any place your dog can get to is a place that chocolate shouldn't be, so keep it up high, and off of any surfaces or floors. Seal it up in containers, or keep it out of sight in cabinets and refrigerators. Keep these tips especially in mind around the holidays when the treats are aplenty.
You can also teach your dog the commands, "Leave It" or "Drop It." If your pup accidentally does get some chocolate in their mouth, you can tell them to drop it and leave it alone, something that's been proven to save dogs' lives.
Another helpful training tip is to crate train your dog to ensure that they can calmly wait in their crate and doesn't get into anything harmful while you're away. This is pawfect for those mischievous pups!
How to React if Your Dog Has Eaten Chocolate
Call your vet immediately to see what you can do
Consult with vet about peroxide and charcoal methods
Keep an eye on your dog
If advised by your vet, induce vomiting
Rush your dog to the vet