Chocolate is one of the foods that can’t be given to dogs. But many owners do not understand the dangers of such a treat for the health of their pets, although its use can not only cause serious poisoning, but also lead to death. At the same time, a misunderstanding of why chocolate is not allowed for dogs is based, as a rule, on the “three pillars”: banal ignorance of the physiological characteristics of the canine organism, irresponsible attitude to the animal, and unwillingness to refuse the four-legged friend a favorite treat.
Chocolate contains the plant alkaloid theobromine, which is part of cocoa beans. Accordingly, the higher the percentage of cocoa in the product, the higher the concentration of this substance.
Important! Theobromine acts on a person similarly to caffeine and invigorates in a moderate amount, accelerates blood flow, activates the activity of the heart. The alkaloid also exerts the same effect on animals, but with a greatly increased force.
As a result, after eating chocolate, dogs have the following problems:
- load on the central nervous system;
- depression develops;
- the rhythm of the heartbeat sharply increases, causing tachycardia or arrhythmia;
- there is diarrhea or excessive urination, which is fraught with rapid dehydration.
To understand why dogs should not eat chocolate, but people can, it is important to understand the difference in digestive processes. In the human body, theobromine is broken down into harmless components by the action of a special enzyme produced by the liver. In animals, this enzyme is absent, which is why this splitting is significantly slowed down. As a result, the alkaloid remains in the blood for almost a day, exerting an extremely negative effect on vital organs and systems. With regular use of chocolate by a dog, a substance builds up in the body, causing irreversible effects.
Another reason why you should not give sweets to dogs is that sugar loads the pancreas and often leads to the development of diabetes. In addition, manufacturers often add various flavors, flavor enhancers and other chemical additives to these products that can also not be taken by dogs.
Given the great love of pets for chocolate sweets and at the same time their harmful effect on health, many dog breeders often wonder whether dogs can eat chocolate at least in a minimal amount. Experts in this matter are unanimous and strongly recommend that this product be completely excluded from the diet of the animal.
Each chocolate bar has its own cocoa content and the corresponding amount of theobromine. For this reason, it is impossible to calculate exactly what dose will be toxic for a particular dog. For an approximate calculation rate, the following data is usually taken:
- poisoning can occur with the use of 15-75 mg of chocolate per 1 kg of dog weight;
- death is possible if 100-200 mg / 1 kg is ingested.
Variation over such a wide range is explained by the difference in the amount of cocoa. The most dangerous in this regard is dark chocolate.
Signs of Poisoning
The first symptoms of poisoning a dog with chocolate do not appear immediately, but 3-4 hours after consumption. They are expressed by different signs, the main of which are:
- vomiting, diarrhea;
- intense thirst;
- frequent urination;
- rapid breathing;
- muscle tremor;
- interruptions in the heartbeat.
If untreated, the animal may develop cramps, internal bleeding, and a heart attack. But the main reason why the dog should not be given chocolate is the high probability that she may fall into a coma or die.
If the dog ate a piece of chocolate, you should immediately contact your veterinarian. In such cases, the doctor does a gastric lavage and gives adsorbents, and if necessary, conducts tests and prescribes treatment. Therapeutic measures are aimed at reducing the negative impact of theobromine on the central nervous system and heart, preventing dehydration and maintaining the normal state of internal organs.
On the Internet, you can often see photos of different breeds of dogs that hold a chocolate bar in their teeth. Often this is simply an ill-conceived design by a photographer who does not even know whether it is possible to give chocolate to dogs or not. On the other hand, such pictures are promotional, because today there really are special "dog" chocolates on sale that are made using special technology with a minimum sugar and cocoa content. Such goodies can and should be given to your pets instead of “human” sweets. In general, in order to maintain the health of the dog, it cannot be fed from its table. After all, even the most healthy foods that give pleasure to people can significantly worsen the condition of animals.