Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Except if You’re a DOG!

Valentine’s day is here and the abundance of chocolate will be unbearable! There will be all types of caramel, crunch, and peanut butter filled chocolates. There will be boxes filled with your favorites types of chocolates, and those pieces nobody ever touches. Do you know what all of this says? WARNING!!!!!!!!!

It’s a common saying amongst pup owners and lovers, “Don’t give the dog chocolate, they will get sick!”. But, do you really know why it is you say that? It is important to know why a pup can’t have chocolate, and what steps to take if they do.

 What makes chocolate poisonous for pups? 

There are two ingredients in chocolate called theobromine and caffeine (we all know this one). These two ingredients increase the heart rate and acts as a stimuli for the nervous system. Think of what happens when you have 4 shots of espresso with a side of Redbull, but times that by 100! This is a dangerous combination for the pup due to the fact that their heart can’t handle the stress of the stimuli.

Potency in chocolate ranges from the one type to another. According to the American Kennel Club they range from most toxic to the least.

  1. Cocoa Powder (most toxic)
  2. Unsweetened bakers chocolate
  3. Semisweet chocolate
  4. Dark chocolate
  5. Milk chocolate
  6. White chocolate (least toxic)

So how do you know if your pup ate chocolate? Well for starters if your heart-shaped box was left with the chocolate pieces that nobody likes and they are now missing, well then most likely the pup ate it. If your pup looks guilty and has a little brown smudge on their snout, it’s probably chocolate and not dirt. Other signs to be aware of are vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, increased potty breaks to pee, tremors (shaking), high heart rate, or seizures.

If you see one or more of these symptoms call your Vet ASAP. We don’t want to wait for all of these conditions to occur due to the fact that it can lead to death. Especially for older or smaller pups, and pups with heart conditions.

Depending on the chocolates toxicity and time frame in which your pup is treated, they will more than likely be fine. What you could expect from your Vet and a form of treatment is induced vomiting, IV fluids, doses of activated charcoal (helps to allow the “poison” to move thru the body without being absorbed), and in more severe cases overnight observation.

So for this Valentine’s day, and for the love of chocolate lets prevent our pups from eating any. There are a few ways to prevent this. First don’t ever offer your pup any chocolate, not even a low-dose. I mean if us humans can’t resist it what makes you think pups won’t crave more of the amazing taste once they’ve had some. Another way is to train your pup by using phrases such as “leave it” “drop it” or “ not yours”. But lets face it, the best preventative is to just PUT IT AWAY. Keep chocolate in a safe place where your pup can’t get into, or reach.  Or you can alway just eat the chocolate yourself, this way you know for sure they won’t have the opportunity to have any.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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