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Is Chocolate Bad, Poisonous for Dogs?

(July 12, 2010)

In our desire to make our dog a part of the family, we often share our space, time and even our food with them. While it is fine to share your space and time with your dog, sharing your food with him may not be the best idea. While the sentiment of sharing food with your pet is completely understandable, it is important to note that dogs have very different nutritional requirements as compared to humans. This is why vets constantly urge people not to feed their dog table scraps and leftovers but to go out of their way and prepare dog food for them. Chocolate has long been considered a favorite among both kids and adults and so it is sometimes shared with the family pooch. However chocolate is extremely dangerous to a dog’s health and cause severe gastrointestinal problems and can even be fatal. So why is chocolate toxic for dogs? This is actually a very common question and the answer lies in the difference between a dog’s digestive system and the digestive tract of a human being.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine and while human beings produce the enzymes to break it down dogs do not. If this chemical remains undigested it gets into the dog’s bloodstream where it causes a type of food poisoning called theobromine or chocolate poisoning in dogs. If your dog has eaten chocolate or even if you suspect that he has, make sure that you take him to the vet. Chocolate poisoning in dogs is a very serious problem and requires emergency medical aid. Many people who are unsure as to whether their dog has eaten chocolate tend to wait it out since they do not see any immediate signs of distress. This is inadvisable as a dog’s digestive system requires a lot of time to process the chocolate and so there may be no observable symptoms for even hours after he has ingested the chocolate. Once the dog starts to vomit up the chocolate and show other symptoms of chocolate poisoning, the levels of theobromine in his blood are already dangerously high.

When a dog is suspected of chocolate ingestion, the vet will induce vomiting. If the dog has not ingested any chocolate, this treatment will only cause him to bring up his last meal. This will not cause any long term problems. However, if he has ingested chocolate, vomiting will help to get rid of the chocolate before it is absorbed by his system. In most cases, timely treatment will help to avert lasting damage and will allow the dog to go on to live a full and happy life. 
Submitted by N M on July 12, 2010 at 05:24


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