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Why Can’t I Feed My Pet Chocolate?

Just like humans, dogs enjoy eating. As you may know from experience, dogs typically like to eat more than just the dog food you may give them at mealtime. Many dogs try to eat off the plates of their owners, whether it’s rice or a tasty hamburger.

Generally, veterinarians will caution you about the amount of human food you feed to your dogs. Dog food is formulated to provide dogs with sufficient nutrition. Also, some human foods are not healthy for dogs to consume.

For example, when you’re eating chocolate cake or a chocolate bar, your dog may whimper or plead for a piece. While a piece of sweet chocolate is a treat for you, it could spell death for your beloved pet.

Why Can’t I Feed My Pet Chocolate?

A frequent question that many pet owners have is why can’t they feed their pet chocolate. A common misconception is that the caffeine in chocolate is the reason it is so deadly to dogs. Chocolate does contain trace amounts of caffeine. However, chocolate contains another substance, theobromine, that is the real issue.

Theobromine refers to an alkaloid that is a stimulant like caffeine. Dogs, unlike humans, don’t possess an enzyme for the breakdown of theobromine. As a result, theobromine is able to overstimulate the cardiovascular and central nervous systems of dogs. This leads to vomiting, seizures, dehydration, blood pressure, abdominal pains and even death.

Whether eating chocolate will harm your beloved depends on a number of factors. This includes the size of the dog and the type of chocolate consumed. Larger dogs are able to consume larger portions of chocolate without suffering any adverse effects. On the other hand, even a minor quantity of chocolate can have fatal effects for a small dog.

Types of Chocolate

Different types of chocolate contain different types of theobromine. In general, darker chocolate contains more theobromine. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain the least amount of theobromine. Dark chocolate contains three times more theobromine than milk chocolate.

The two types of chocolate that you should be most aware of are cocoa powder and baker’s chocolate. Baker’s chocolate contains three times more theobromine versus dark chocolate. Cocoa powder contains twice as much theobromine versus baker’s chocolate.

For a typical 16-pound dog, it will take a pound of milk chocolate to cause sickness or illness. However, the same dog would become ill after eating just an ounce of cocoa powder.

No matter the size or type of your pets, you should never feed them chocolate treats. If you have reason to believe that your dog has consumed chocolate, you should reach out to your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will be able to treat your unhealthy pet and provide you with facts about what chocolate can do to dogs and cats.

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