“Oh!! It’s my dog’s birthday! Let’s do something really really special for that little ball of cuteness! Wait… I know, let’s get the most awesome chocolate cake ever and since its his birthday, he can have all of it by himself!”
This is what my friend once told me on her little Volpino’s sixth birthday. I’m really glad she chose me to share this little bit of her big surprise for her dog, which otherwise would have turned into a disaster. Dogs and cakes do no not go together and chocolate is just the biggest deal breaker. I’m grateful to mother luck that I could stop my friend before she could make her dog eat its way to its death!
You must be wondering what it is about chocolate that dog owners are advised against. After all, it tastes amazing and makes a wonderful treat for your dog! The less known fact is, chocolate is lethal for dogs. It causes toxicity in cats too, but cats are picky eaters and do not enjoy chocolate very much, but dogs! Dogs will eat anything they find in their way!
Chocolate is made of cocoa which contains caffeine and a chemical compound called theobromine which is the main root of toxicity in dogs.
Have you ever been offered a small piece of chocolate when you felt anxious, stressed or weak? Chocolate is kind of like a drug that makes you feel relaxed. Now dogs take much longer to process chocolate than humans do. You cannot always make conclusions that if its safe for human, then its damn safe for the dog as well. Humans have a very complex, evolved and advance system which is why they are at the top of the animal kingdom. If something reacting funny in the human system then it’s a dot no for dogs.
Even small amounts of chocolates can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. The more the theobromine level, the more dangerous it is for the dog.
One of my friend’s Lhasa Apso died because of regular consumption of chocolate. They say, the dog was super addicted to chocolate and would throw tantrums if he was not given chocolate. It simply had to be a part of his regular diet. My friend never heard of chocolate poisoning and hence was never aware of it. Somehow he and his vet never had a conversation about this either. When the dog died, the vet, after few cross examinations enquired if the dog had chocolate and my friend casually said “Yeah! Every day!”. Apparently the vet was in a state of shocked silence for a few moments before he gained his voice and explained about chocolate toxicity. Death cases are however rare. In this case it was obvious because the dog gulped down chocolate everyday as if it were a mandatory medical prescription. But toxicity is a definite possibility if chocolates in huge amounts are ingested.
I sometimes (very occasionally) toss a little piece of chocolate to my dog, and by very occasionally, I mean, maybe twice a year. That earns me such a deadly look from my friend.
Every kind of chocolate has theobromine in it, which is the main cause of poisoning. Even the milk chocolates. Research says, even one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potential threat to dogs. Death cases have been reported with detection of theobromine doses as less as a hundred and fifteen milligrams per kilogram of body weight. The level of toxicity varies of course. White chocolates are not always toxic but are high on fat and sugar content which can make your dog sick, making it ill and weak. There might be regular vomiting and even illnesses like pancreatitis. Milk chocolates cause low levels of toxication and dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate, like mentioned earlier are highly toxic.
Therefore, the higher the theobromine level, the more dangerous it can prove to be with the highest level found in dark chocolates and unsweetened baking chocolates which are about ten times more toxic when compared to milk chocolate. They are high on cocoa content and hence theobromine too.
If you have been giving your dog chocolate then you better stop with it. The regular sickness must have been because of the “sinful chocolate”. Its not always possible to keep and eye on your pet. Your dog may sometimes find chocolate elsewhere. If you notice it, immediately contact your vet who will be able to instruct you up on what actions to take. If the dog has ingested huge amounts then you might have to rush your dog to the pet clinic for a check up and if the situation is severe, you might have to have it admitted there. In lesser serious cases, the vet will just advise proper care and ask you to keep an eye and report regular health status.