Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs
Chocolates are quite poisonous for dogs, and your pet dog might suffer chocolate poisoning in dogs if they consume lots of it. Seeing how rapid they consume those chocolates you just had tossed to them and that pathetic ‘begging for more’ look from your pet dogs might give you an impression that these four-legged friends must have been sharing the same love for chocolates as you do. But then, you should never make a mistake of giving in to pity, otherwise, you will be doing more harm to them than good.
Chocolates may be a delight to humans, but it is toxic, and even fatal to animals, particularly dogs, because of its theobromine content that dogs cannot readily digest. Theobromine, a term derived from the Greek word Theobroma, which means “food for the gods”, is a bitter alkaloid substance that belongs to the methylxanthines found abundantly in cocoa beans and in chocolate. It is also found in tea plant, guarana berry, and kola nut.
Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs
Dogs eat rapidly like gluttons but they metabolize very slowly. So, if they are allowed to consume too much chocolate, there is a tendency for theobromine, and of course, the toxins that come with it, to accumulate in no time in their body until it reaches to a poisonous level. Though the level and effects of toxins may vary according to age, size, health and weight of the dog, one thing is certain: too much concentration of theobromine in the body leads to a fatal cardiac arrest. Aside from dogs, other animals are vulnerable to chocolate poisoning, too.
The amount of theobromine content varies in different chocolate preparations, but baking chocolate ranks the highest alkaloid content, and therefore, it is the most potent in putting down dogs to serious ailment. Other highly concentrated preparations include the semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and hot chocolate.
Chocolate Poisoning Symptoms
A small amount of chocolate intake takes two to four hours to process within the dog’s body before it exhibits symptoms of chocolate poisoning, like vomiting and diarrhoea. But high quantity dosage may show immediate signs that include hyperactivity, trembling, muscle twitching, excessive thirst, and frequent urination. Progressive signs of stiffness, seizures, and oversensitivity to noise, light and touch may also ensue. Ultimately, chocolate poisoning results in cardiac arrest, hyperthermia that progresses into coma, and eventually, death in 12 to 36 hours after ingestion.
As soon as you notice that your pet dog shows any of these signs of poisoning, or as soon as you realized you have inadvertently fed it with potentially lethal chocolate amount – whatever may come first – the first thing to do is to bring your pet immediately to the veterinarian within two hours. But if it were not possible, you may have to apply first aid by inducing vomiting. To do this, you have to prepare a one-to-one solution which consist of 3% of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and normal water, and administer one tablespoon of this solution for every 4.5 KG of your pet’s body weight. Or, you may also give one-fourth teaspoon of the syrup of ipecac as an alternative to peroxide water solution.
Using a syringe or turkey baster, squirt the solution onto your dog’s mouth to force it to vomit. If your pet dog does not vomit within five minutes after giving peroxide water solution, wait for another five minutes before repeating the same procedure. If, however, your dog still does not vomit, never give the third dosage of ipecac or peroxide water solution anymore, as it will be dangerous. Instead, call a veterinarian or your local animal poison centre for assistance.
If available, you may give your dog one to three grams of activated charcoal per kilogram of his body weight. Activated carbon, a black, odourless, and tasteless non-toxic powder, is common and effective antidote for chocolate poisoning because it sucks up the theobromine toxins and prevents the toxic compound from further pushing into the dog’s bloodstream. Among the varied dosage forms of activated charcoal, its powder form is much easier to administer to dogs.
However, induced vomiting and activated charcoal are not recommended if your pet dog is unable to swallow, having a seizure, depressed or comatose. Instead, it should already be brought to the veterinarian for appropriate treatment.
Just as humans keep a first aid kit at home, so do pet owners need to maintain an emergency kit for their pets. Remember, chocolate taste nice and sometimes is good for human, but will be deadly for dogs as they causes chocolate poisoning in dogs.