Dogs and Chocolate

Dogs and Chocolate

With Halloween right around the corner, you likely have a bag of candy on hand for incoming trick-or-treaters. Now, if you are a dog owner, be sure to keep your furry friend away from the candy, especially if it’s chocolate. Many pup parents are aware that our canine companions can’t have chocolate. However, some of us may not know why exactly our furry friends should never consume the delicious treat. 

In a 2015 YouTube video, Dr. Pete Wedderburn, BVM&S, CertVR, MRCVS, explained that, unlike humans, dogs have a difficult time metabolizing chocolate. 

“Chocolate contains chemicals called methylxanthines, the most common is theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant, it gives you a nice little bit of a buzz but what happens with dogs is it’s not metabolised, it’s not broken down as quickly and that means that’s it rapidly accumulates in their bloodstream and as it accumulates it has a much greater stimulate effect and in particular it causes the heart to race and it also affects the brain,” explained the veterinarian. 

According to Dr. Daniel Annin, also known as Dr. Dan, certain types of chocolate can be more harmful than others. 

“Both of these chemicals can come in different amounts for different chocolates,” explained Dr. Annin. 

He noted that it’s not much of an issue if your pup were to eat white chocolate, as there is “very little theobromine in it and caffeine in it.” However, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and baking chocolate may cause serious health issues. 

He explained that dogs will experience a variety of symptoms if they were to consume chocolate, including agitation, “intestinal upset” and “an increased blood pressure.” In serious cases, dogs may have “seizures, tremors,” or go into “acute cardiac arrest.” For these reasons, you need to contact your pet’s vet as soon as possible if they have eaten chocolate. Once at the vet, your dog may be forced to vomit. Your pup may also be given “activated charcoal which may bind up some of the chocolate so it won’t be absorbed.”

image source: AKC

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