The Dangers of Feeding Chocolate to Dogs

At Pet Gift Hampers, our canine confectionery range provides dog owners with a safe alternative to chocolate so that their dogs are not at risk from being poisoned by the toxins contained within chocolate.  It’s also important to note that chocolate is unsafe for cats and other animals too.

Why is chocolate toxic to dogs?

Chocolate is derived from the beans of the cacao tree, 2 of whose components come under the class of drugs known as methylxanines.  The methylxanines which exist  in chocolate are the naturally occurring stimulant theobromine and in smaller quantities, caffeine. The existence of these components  is the main reason why chocolate is poisonous to dogs, as dogs cannot digest it as readily as humans can.  This inability to digest the toxins in chocolate can lead to dogs being poisoned and can sometimes even be fatal.

The effects of these drugs on the dog’s body are as follows:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular stimulant (makes the heart work harder)
  • Over-stimulation of the Central Nervous System (can cause seizures)
  • Nausea and vomiting

Are some chocolates worse than others?

Strictly speaking, the higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more toxic it will be to dogs. Therefore, chocolate high in cocoa solids such as cooking chocolate or dark chocolate will be more toxic than milk chocolate, but by no means does this mean that feeding milk chocolate to your dog is acceptable or safe. White chocolate does contain small amounts of theobromine but not in significant amounts, so the occurrence of poisoning is unlikely.

The effects of chocolate-eating in dogs

Some dog owners will defiantly say that chocolate has done their dog no harm. Perhaps this is what it seems like from the outside,  but the dog’s internal organs would disagree! For example if a young, active dog ate a teaspoonful of chocolate, this would probably not cause any obvious symptoms of toxicity but if he were to eat a large chocolate cake he would be very likely to show signs of poisoning such as vomiting and diarrhoea. So, the amount of chocolate your own dog can tolerate without displaying symptoms will depend on age, weight and fitness level but surely as it is so difficult to pin point the exact amount which can be deemed ‘safe’ for your dog, why would you take the risk?

Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs

Within the first few hours after consumption, your dog may display hyperactivity, vomiting and diarrhoea.  As time passes and the dog’s body absorbs more of the toxins, the heart rate will increase,  the dog will show signs of restlessness, increased urination, heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and excessive panting. This can lead to muscle tremours, seizures, coma and even death.  Why would any responsible dog owner put their beloved pet at such risk?

Safe alternatives to chocolate

There are plenty of  readily available alternatives to chocolate which your dog will enjoy which are made from carob. Carob is derived from the carob bean and unlike chocolate contains no harmful toxins such as theobromine or caffeine. Examples of the types of tasty carob treats available can be seen in our Canine Confectionery  range.  Check out our paw print carob lollies, our mini carob pupcakes , boxes of gourmet dogolates and more, at Pet Gift Hampers.

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