Friday, April 13, 2012

The Doggy Dangers Of Chocolate

Dogs and Chocolate

Dogs and chocolate is one of the most common reasons for a trip to the veterinarian. The problem with chocolate is that dogs will actually crave it once they have had a taste, and this can lead to serious problems. Although the reaction to chocolate may vary from dog to dog, chocolate is poisonous for dogs and may lead to death if enough is consumed.

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine. Theobromine is found in the cocoa bean and causes increased urination and affects the nervous system and heart. It is a chemical stimulant that belongs in the same category as caffeine and theophylline.

A dog’s body cannot handle chocolate because theobromine metabolizes much more slowly than in a human’s body. Chocolate can stay in your dog’s system for up to 20 hours. During this time, it may interfere with your dog’s nervous system, heart muscles as well as the kidneys.

Symptoms may not appear for a few hours, and may be confused with a different illness. The longer chocolate stays in your dog’s system without treatment, the more damage it will do. Chocolate poisoning may eventually lead to cardiac arrest.

Symptoms To Look For

Dog chocolate poisoning symptoms may not start to show for up to 12 hours. Depending on how long your dog goes without treatment is the most important part to think about. Once mild symptoms start to show, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately before the symptoms progress.

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms when dealing with a possible case of chocolate poisoning:


Vomiting
Diarrhea
Hyperactivity
Increased heart rate
Restlessness
Muscle spasms
Panting
Increased urination
Excess water consumption

More serious symptoms include:

Seizures
Gums are blue or gray in color
Hyperthermia
Coma


It is very important to take your dog to the veterinarian to avoid dealing with more serious side effects of dogs eating chocolate.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate

There are a few steps to treatment to help your dog’s case of chocolate poisoning. Some may be minor treatments, depending on how much chocolate and what kind was eaten. You won’t need to rush your dog to the vet for a single M&M eaten. Always contact a veterinarian or animal poison control and follow proper procedures.

The first step to treating dogs eating chocolate is to collect some information before calling animal poison control or the vet.

- What kind of chocolate did your dog eat? Candy bar? Baking chocolate? White chocolate?

- What breed is your dog?

- How much does your dog weigh?

- Is there garbage laying around? This will help to show serving sizes on the packaging.

- What symptoms are present?

- How long has it been since he ate the chocolate?

Next, you will likely have to induce vomiting. Once your dog has vomited, you should take him to the veterinarian for further treatment.

For more information about dogs and chocolate, symptoms to look for and treatment options, visit www.dogsandchocolate.net

***Ciara's column appears weekly, and you can view more pet health related information at  www.doghelpnetwork.com

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