Why can't dogs eat chocolate?
Dogs, much like their human companions, love to eat. Nowadays, most of us follow the advice of veterinarians and feed our pups specially formulated dry dog food instead of letting them feast on table scraps. But who among us will not give in to their dog's pleading eyes to let them have a tasty treat every once in a while? The problem is, there are good treats and bad treats, and unfortunately, chocolate is a bad, and sometimes even potentially fatal treat.
That chocolate bar that you are eating is delicious for humans, but it can be toxic for dogs. Many people think that the amount of caffeine contained in a chocolate bar is the problem. Yes, chocolate does contain a small amount of caffeine, but the main culprit in dog poisoning is a chemical called theobromine. The alkaloid theobromine can overstimulate your dog's cardiovascular and central nervous systems, and that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, dehydration, seizures, abdominal pains, and even death.
Of course, everything depends on how large or small your dog is, as well as the type of chocolate that has been eaten. A very large dog may eat up to a pound of chocolate before it becomes toxic, but a smaller pup may suffer after eating an ounce. The darker a chocolate is, the more theobromine it will contain. Very dark chocolate contains 3 times more theobromine than white chocolate or milk chocolate.
What are some symptoms of your dog eating chocolate?
Maybe you have a stealth eater, or the babysitter or the visiting neighbor kid gave your pup a chocolate treat when he was playing in the backyard. Symptoms show up between 6 to 12 hours and can include extreme thirst, diarrhea, panting, too much energy, shaking, pacing, and seizures. If your dog shows any of these symptoms you should either contact your vet immediately or call the Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour emergency hotline: (888) 426-4435 (a $65 fee may be charged).
If the vet tells you to induce vomiting you'll need some 3% hydrogen peroxide (it's a good idea to be prepared and have some of this product at home). A dog should get 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every ten pounds of body weight. Use an eye dropper to draw up the peroxide and then drop it as far back on the dog's tongue as you can. Then either walk the dog or if he is too sick gently move or shake his belly. If your dog doesn't start to vomit in 10 minutes, you can give her another dose. Do not give your dog more than two doses. After your dog vomits you should still take him to the vet to make sure he's alright.
What can you do to stop others from feeding your dog chocolate?
One of the best ways to stop the well-meaning neighbor kids from feeding your dog inappropriate substances in the yard is to purchase Bark Potty, a clean, natural, disposable INDOOR potty for dogs. This product is constructed of real bark, and just like natural grass, it has all the smells that make your dog eager to "go". If you can't be watching your dog at a particular time, then have her use a Bark Potty in the house instead of going outdoors.
What other substances are dangerous to give to your dog?
In addition to chocolate in all its delicious forms, you should never give your pup raisins, dairy products, garlic, onions, raw fish, sugar, fatty food, alcoholic beverages, grapes, mushrooms, cooked bones, caffeine, nuts, avocados, corn-on-the-cob, cat food, sweets, or chewing gum.
Raisins are very toxic to dogs. If she eats more than a few she might end up with acute kidney failure or even death. Signs of raisin poisoning can include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, and weakness.
Most dogs are lactose intolerant, so you shouldn't give your dog any cheese, milk, or ice cream. I know - he adores ice cream! But it is much better to give your pet a couple of ice cubes to chew on.
If your dog eats raw fish she might develop parasitic infections that are caused by 3 different types of parasites. There is also an enzyme in raw fish that actually breaks down the amount of vitamin B2 she has in her body. This could lead to your dog developing a vitamin deficiency.
Garlic is so good for you - why isn't it good for your dog as well? Garlic causes damage to the red blood cells of your dog. Onions and chives are bad too, but symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness might not show up for a few days.
Fatty foods will not only cause obesity (and diabetes) in your pet - it can also cause her to develop pancreatitis. Take her to the vet immediately if she shows signs of depression, lethargy, fever, or a swollen abdomen that is painful to the touch.
Stay clear of giving sugar or any "sugar free" food to your dog. One artificial sweetener, xylitol, is especially deadly for pups.
All types of alcohol are bad for dogs. Beer contains hops which are toxic for canines. Wine contains grapes, another doggy no-no. Depending on the amount that your dog drank, its symptoms could range from diarrhea and vomiting to kidney damage and even heart failure.
Having a Bark Potty or other indoor dog potty solution can be helpful if your dog ever accidentally eats something that doesn't agree with their stomach. Having a way for them to get to the bathroom quickly will easily will help you and your dog.