Friday, July 19, 2013

Can I Give My Dog Chocolate?

I had a friend once who wanted to give her chocolate lab "Brownie" a special treat for her birthday, so she gave her a beautiful chocolate cake with thick creamy chocolate icing and candles to match her age. My friend walked her pet over to the cake and before she could even mutter the words "Happy Birthday" Brownie had lunged in and devoured the cake in about 6 seconds flat! But what my friend didn't anticipate was what would come next.

About an hour after the birthday cake debacle, Brownie laid down and refused to get up. She just had a very sullen and listless look about her. When this persisted for a couple of more hours, my friend jumped on the Internet to see if she could find answers as to why her dog was feeling so ill. That's when she discovered the horrifying fact that chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs. She immediately scooped up Brownie and headed to her local veterinarian. Unfortunately, Brownie had a seizure in the vet's office and stopped breathing. The vet did all he could but Brownie couldn't be saved. My friend was devastated and we all learned the hard way that giving chocolate to a dog can be fatal.

Chocolate is actually the leading cause of canine poisoning in the United States. That is because we have a tendency to want to treat our dogs to the same pleasures we get for ourselves. Cocoa contains a chemical known as theobromine which is extremely toxic to dogs. Baker's (semi-sweet) chocolates and dark chocolates contain the highest levels of theobromine and white chocolate has the lowest level. This does not mean that it is okay to feed your dog white chocolate. It only means that it is less likely to be fatal in most cases. It only takes a very small amount of semi-sweet chocolate to cause your pet serious distress. In fact, about one ounce of chocolate per pound of dog weight can be lethal. An interesting fact is that chocolate is also extremely toxic to cats too. However, most cats don't eat chocolate and don't gorge themselves the way dogs do.

Unfortunately, there is no solid treatment for chocolate poisoning. Most vets will advise to try and give your dog syrup of ipecac to try and induce vomiting. A veterinarian may give your pet activated charcoal to slow down the absorption rate of the theobromine and administer fluids to reduce seizures and keep the dog hydrated. Overall, the best way to keep your dog from suffering through something like this is to never give them chocolate for any reason!

1 comment:

  1. I like the information on this article about Dog Chocolate Food, keep your good work.