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You’ve no doubt heard about chocolates being harmful to dogs. Many have told you to never give in to that pathetic look that comes across your pooch’s face as he begs for your delicious M&M’s. Maybe you’ve wondered if you really have to deprive Fido with those mouth-watering sweets. Well, the truth is that chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is highly toxic to dogs when ingested in large quantities. This ingredient belongs to the xanthine compound which is in a similar family to theophylline and caffeine.
Understanding Chocolate Toxic Levels
The good thing is that in order for theobromine to result a lethal reaction, it takes a fairly large serving of about 100 to 150 mg/kg. Some variables, nevertheless, have to be considered such as animal size, individual sensitivity, and chocolate concentration in analysing the toxic levels.
On the average, a milk chocolate comprises 44 mg/oz. of theobromine. While semi-sweet chocolates have 150.g/oz, Baker’s chocolates, on the other hand, contain about 390mg/oz. If you use the general theobromine dose of 100mg/kg as the toxic measure, you can use the following estimates in calculating the safe amount of chocolate Fido can consume: (1) an ounce of milk chocolate for every one pound of Fido’s body weight, (2) an ounce of semisweet chocolate for every three pounds of body weight, and (3) an ounce of Baker’s chocolate for every nine pounds of your pooch’s body weight.
For instance, a 2-ounce bar of Baker’s chocolate may lead to a huge risk of having a 15-pound dog get poisoned. Yet, the same amount of Milk chocolate may only result to digestive problems.
Signs to Watch Out for
Because xanthine generally affects the animal’s nervous and cardiovascular systems, as well as peripheral nerves, clinical symptoms like hyper-excitability and hyper-irritability can be observed. Other signs include restlessness, rapid heart rate, frequent urination, muscle tremors, diarrhea, and vomiting.
How to Deal with Chocolate-poisoning
There remains no particular antidote for chocolate toxicity. Because half the life of such toxin is approximately 17 ½ hours in canines, you have to induce vomiting during the first couple of hours if the dose is unknown. You may also try to administer activated charcoal to inhibit toxin absorption. Once neurological manifestations are observed, the use of anticonvulsants may be done in order to control the symptoms. The heart can be protected through oxygen therapy as well as intravenous fluid and medications.
Because milk chocolates usually lead to diarrhea between 12 to 24 hours following the ingestion, the condition has to be symptomatically treated so that dehydration can be prevented. Once you suspect your dog has consumed any amount of chocolate, immediately contact your vet.