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Holiday Safety Tips: Why Chocolate Is Bad For Dogs

Chocolate is one of the most popular treats eaten during the holidays. It comes in many forms, including candy bars, cookies, and brownies. While eating too much chocolate can give us a stomachache that goes away after a short while, it can have more severe effects on our pets.


Why Chocolate Is Bad For Your Pet

The cocoa tree produces seeds, which are collected and processed to create the chocolate we love. But four ingredients in this delicious treat can be harmful to our pets: Caffeine, Theobromine, Fat and Sugar.

Caffeine And Theobromine

Theobromine and caffeine are toxins that can be very harmful to dogs. Dogs aren't able to metabolize these substances like humans, so ingesting too much of either could cause stomach problems for your pup. It takes a human body 7 hours to eliminate half of these compounds, but it will take about 18 hours for a dog's body to metabolize the same amount.

Because these compounds take so long to be broken down by dogs, they can remain in their bloodstreams for a long time and potentially reach toxic levels.

Fat And Sugar

Dogs don't have the same tolerance for fat, sugar and salt as humans do. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity. Both of these conditions are very dangerous for dogs, as they could lead to organ failure or even death if left untreated.


Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning

Theobromine and caffeine work as stimulants on the nervous system, blocking receptors that make our pets feel tired and sleepy. This is why dogs seem to be so hyper after eating chocolate. Theobromine and caffeine also affect the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat and tremors. The symptoms of chocolate poisoning may vary depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested by your pet.


Here are some of the most common signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness
  • Muscle tremors or twitches
  • Seizures
  • Death in severe cases


How Much Chocolate Is Toxic For Your Pet?

The amount of chocolate that is toxic to dogs depends on the type and size of your pet. Dark chocolate contains more caffeine and theobromine than milk or white chocolate, which can be poisonous to pets even in small amounts. A small piece or square of dark chocolate may be enough to cause poisoning in a small dog, while larger amounts are required for a large dog to become ill.


Treatment For Chocolate Poisoning

Treatment will depend on the amount ingested but may include the following:

  • Activated charcoal to prevent absorption of theobromine and caffeine.
  • Hydration with intravenous fluids (IV).
  • Medication to control seizures or stomach cramps.
  • Induce vomiting

The festive season is a time when our pets are more likely to eat chocolate. It is important that we keep all chocolate treats away from them.

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please contact your veterinarian immediately.


K-9 Coach Will Be Happy To Watch Your Pet During The Holidays.

At K-9 Coach, we ensure that your dog's day is filled with fun experiences while you are away for the holidays. We work to get to know our guests so that everyone has a great time while in our care.

Need a safe & fun place for your pet to stay during the holidays? Book your pet's boarding appointment now before we book up!



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