Chocolate is one of the most favorite delicacies for the people around the world. Everyone loves to have a taste of the sweet, thick food. However, many of you might have heard chocolate is harmful for dogs. Isn’t it rather puzzling? Why a substance harmless to humans would be harmful to dogs?
Actually chocolate is harmful to humans as well. It is just that the effect of them on us is considerably less than on others, particularly dogs. It is down to the difference in biological mechanisms of humans and dogs. The toxic effect of chocolate is attributed to a chemical contained in it, called theobromine. It is a stimulant similar to caffeine, found in cocoas, tea and cola beverages. The amount of theobromine varies according to the different types of chocolate. Dark chocolate contains larger amount of the chemical than the white chocolate or milk chocolate. The dark chocolate contains around 15 grams of theobromine per kilogram while more refined chocolates contain around 2 grams.
The impact of the chocolate on a dog depends on the type and amount of the chocolate consumed by them and the dog’s body weight. Dogs and other domestic animals metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans. The theobromine is toxic to a dog when the amount of it rises to around 150 milligrams per kilogram of the body weight of the animal. That is if a dog weighing 30 kg has consumed 4.5 g of theobromine, its body would suffer from serious effects. The median lethal dose of theobromine in dogs is about 300mg/kg. In humans and rats, this is near 1000 which makes them less prone to the effects of theobromine.
The important body parts that theobromine affects are heart, central nervous system and kidneys. The biological half-life of theobromine in dogs is 17.5 hours. The symptoms will begin to show from four hours to one day after the dog has consumed chocolate.
The symptoms vary according to the amount of the theobromine that entered the body. The dog will start to display the signs of discomfort including but not limited to vomiting, increased urination, diarrhea, restlessness and hyperactivity. The theobromine could be fatal to dogs, leading to seizures to internal bleeding and heart attack, and eventually death.
There is no antidote to theobromine poisoning. The best treatment is to make the dog vomit and clean its stomach within a few hours of chocolate consumption. The vets will also give medicines for seizures. With prompt intervention, the dog can be saved.
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