Dogs and chocolate
Chocolats du Monde is today looking at the dangers of our kitchens for our four-legged friends and the reflexes to adopt.
The danger of chocolate for dogs is unfortunately not a myth. Chocolate contains two molecules which are toxic to them:
- Theobromine - An alkaloid of plant origin with a stimulating power very close to caffeine. Theobromine is a central nervous system stimulant and vasodilator, meaning it can cause an increase in heart rate and dilation of blood vessels. It is also mildly diuretic, meaning it can increase urine production.
- Caffeine - (or theine) A molecule with stimulating power.
In humans, our metabolism eliminates these molecules within a few hours without any adverse effects, other than giving us a boost. Conversely, it’s a completely different story with dogs. Once in the body, these molecules can take more than twenty hours to be evacuated. Due to this prolonged presence in the blood, they accumulate at excessive and potentially toxic levels.
The following symptoms of chocolate poisoning are generally visible for 24 hours but especially during the first 4 hours:
- Hyperactivity, agitation, tremors.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- An accelerated heart rate (Tachyarrhythmia)
Due to the persistence of the molecules in animals, you will need to monitor your dog for 24 hours for these symptoms (some can persist for up to 72 hours).
Toxicity depends on the type of chocolate and the amount ingested. The higher the chocolate percentage in cocoa (containing theobromine and caffeine), the more toxic it is for dogs. Thus, dark chocolate is 4 to 8 times more toxic than milk chocolate or white chocolate which contains almost no theobromine and is not dangerous.
For example, it is estimated that for a 10 kg dog, ingesting 60 grams of dark chocolate is potentially fatal (60 mg of theobromine per kg). Sensitivity can also vary depending on the breed of the dog and there are toxicity calculators taking these parameters into account: here
If you think your dog may have eaten a dangerous amount of chocolate, it is recommended to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Don't forget to take the packaging of the chocolate you consumed with you and estimate the quantity eaten.
So be careful and don't leave your favorite tablets within reach of your dogs!
Source TVM LAB