With Easter behind us and all the goodies that are to be enjoyed by humans remember your dog and keep the tasty chocolate treats out of their reach or you might end up with a picture like this:
A colorful and nasty picture that I bet tasted better going down then it did coming back up and coming back up is what needed to happen after a Weimaraner got into the Easter goods before Easter and ate 4# of various chocolate goodies. The Weimaraner weighed 91# when he first came in and weighed 87# when he left. Even at a weight of 91# all the chocolate he ingested was at a toxic level. Since his owner called us right after she discovered he had eaten the chocolate we were able to get him to vomit all the candy up and he didn’t need any further treatment.
Why is chocolate toxic to dogs? Chocolate is toxic to dogs (and cats) because of it’s active ingredient Theobromide.
Theobromide is a distant cousin to caffeine.
Taken from Veterinary Partner.com
- Chocolate liquor is the liquid that results from grinding the hulled cacao beans.
- Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the chocolate liquor.
- Cocoa powder is the solid that remains after the cocoa butter is removed from the chocolate liquor. The powder can be treated with alkali in a process called Dutching or it can be left alone. Note the low-fat nature of cocoa powder, hence its use in low-fat baking.
- Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor that is 50% to 60% cocoa butter.
- Semisweet chocolate is chocolate that is 35% chocolate liquor (the rest being sugar, vanilla, or lecithin).
- Milk chocolate is chocolate that is at least 10% chocolate liquor, the rest being milk solids, vanilla or lecithin.
The more chocolate liquor there is in a product, the more theobromine there is. This makes baking chocolate the worst for pets, followed by semisweet and dark chocolate, followed by milk chocolate, followed by chocolate flavored cakes or cookies. Signs of toxicity from theobromine causes:
- Racing heart rhythm progressing to abnormal rhythms
- Death in severe cases
Toxic doses of theobromine are 9 mg per pound of dog for mild signs, up to 18 mg per pound of dog for severe signs. Milk chocolate contains 44 mg / ounce of theobromine while semisweet chocolate contains 150 mg per ounce, and baking chocolate contains 390 mg per ounce.
It takes nearly four days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of a dog’s system. If the chocolate was only just eaten, it is possible to induce vomiting; otherwise, hospitalization and support are needed until the chocolate has worked its way out of the system.
Here is a Chocolate Toxicity Chart that is done by the weight of the dog to figure out if your dog has ingested a toxic amount.
Animal poison control (fees apply) can be reached at:
ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426 4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680
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