Discover the main reasons why dogs can't eat chocolate


Subscribe to Xataka Science

The other day we explained that, during the Christmas holidays, the intake of chocolate by dogs increased dangerously. But Why is chocolat not recommended for dogs?

Theobromine and toxicity

Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid that is chemically similar to caffeine. The chemically pure analog of theobromine is used in medicine as a diuretic and heart stimulant.

Dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly and can get sick and die from eating too much chocolate. How much is too much? It depends on the type of chocolate: melting chocolate has 10 times more theobromine than milk chocolate and thousands of times more than white chocolate. There are between 1 and 9 milligrams of theobromine per gram of chocolate, with higher levels in the darkest chocolate. White chocolate has zero risk of toxicity.

Naturally, it also depends on the size of the dog. Toxicity to chocolate starts at around 20 mg of theobromine per kilogram of body weight. In a small dog that weighs 5 kg this means 100 mg of theobromine (about 70 g of milk chocolate or 20 g of dark chocolate) will cause problems. There are about 25 g per square of block of chocolate, so it is three squares of milk chocolate. Cocoa powder contains higher levels: only 4 g of cocoa powder contains 100 mg of theobromine.

Theobromine causes an increase in the levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), an important chemical messenger in the cell. Theobromine and caffeine also increase the release of adrenaline and affect the flow of calcium into and out of the cell. This increases muscle contractions.

When combined, all these biochemical changes stimulate the central nervous system and the heart muscle. Other types of muscles in the rest of the body, called smooth muscles, relax, which can cause respiratory problems and increased urination.

It is best to avoid eating chocolate in general: causes vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity until reaching cardiac arrest, heart attacks and death. It may take hours and even days to manifest the symptoms.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate, tell your veterinarian as soon as possible. There will be time to give him something to induce vomiting if they just ate the chocolate.

Share Why should dogs not eat chocolate?

Why is chocolate toxic to dogs?

The consumption of chocolate is one of the main causes of poisoning of dogs and can even kill them. Chocolate is made up of cocoa, which includes caffeine and theobromine, the chemical compound that can change your pet's life. Chocolate is often highly toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine that is a central nervous system stimulant and a relative of caffeine.

The problem manifests as Dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans: While it costs us 20 to 40 minutes, it can take up to a whole day for a dog. This is because we have the enzyme cytochrome P450 in the liver, and this is responsible for metabolizing the chemical compound.

Chocolate in very high doses can have serious consequences for dogs, and it is not an exaggeration, it is real. If the dog has consumed small amounts it will cause vomiting and diarrhea, and if it has been a greater amount it can produce hyperactivity, high blood pressure, tremors, seizures, and so on. The chemical components of chocolate can cause the dog's heart to beat up to twice as much as normal, and in some cases, dogs usually run around themselves behind their tail in a desperate way.

Effects caused by chocolate:

* Diarrhea (It is one of the first signs that warns that the dog has ingested chocolate and happens in mild cases)
* Vomiting
* Dehydration
* Nervousness (Dogs that consume chocolate start running like crazy)
* Acceleration of heart rate
* Whining
* Seizures or tremors
* In a very high dose of chocolate the dog can cause eats and even death.

What to do if your dog has consumed chocolate?

Everything in excess is bad. If your dog has consumed chocolate, the first most important thing is to keep calm and assess the situation. Also, to know what to do if your dog has eaten chocolate, first of all evaluate how much chocolate you have consumed. One thing is that dogs should not eat chocolate and another thing is that they cannot, (they will not get sick for a small amount).

It is true that chocolate can lead any dog ​​to a very painful poisoning with tremors, seizures, vomiting, etc. But the key to the problem is knowing:

* How much chocolate your dog ate
* What kind of chocolate was it?
* How much your dog weighs

That is to say that if your dog ate little chocolate for its weight, nothing will happen but a stomachache, possibly vomiting and diarrhea. But if your dog ate a lot of chocolate and has any of the symptoms mentioned, you should act quickly and go directly to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, when theobromine has already reached the bloodstream, not much can be done to treat the poisoning. To prevent this from happening, you can try the following (Obviously you should first check with your veterinarian):

1. Incites vomiting with hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide). This will help eliminate any chocolate residue.
2. Once your pet has vomited, feed him a piece of activated charcoal. This prevents theobromine from reaching the bloodstream.
3. Subsequently, allow your dog to drink a lot of water and try to keep it hydrated.

Not everything that is good for us is also good for our pets. In certain circumstances people share everything they eat with their canines, without realizing the serious consequences that this can cause. So to your hairy, not a gram of chocolate.

Dogs can't eat chocolate

Surely you know this ‘maximum’ included in the decalogue of a good owner, but you don’t understand very well what it is. We find it strange that something so beneficial to our health - if we talk about pure cocoa - is prohibited for our pets.

Of course, chocolate is not the only food not suitable for dogs, since we can also name tomato sauce, eggplants and nuts. Cocoa has a large amount of antioxidants that, while good for humans, are not good for dogs.

We should not take this information lightly, since eating chocolate for a dog can be deadly. That's right, because this food of American origin has a caffeine-like alkaloid called theobromine. It is a chemical compound that intoxicates people if consumed in certain amounts, but in dogs it is dangerous in low doses.

If your dog has eaten chocolate - without your consent, since they are usually quite sweet tooth - You may have different symptoms: from vomiting to diarrhea, through cramping and bloating. In more severe cases, in which the intake has been important, it can cause seizures and heart failure.

How much chocolate is toxic to the dog?

The dogs are susceptible to this substance because they cannot digest it correctly. If it takes us a maximum of three hours for humans to digest chocolate, dogs need almost a day. They metabolize the chemical up to nine times slower than us.

We must bear in mind that a high dose of theobromine can be deadly ... Also for people! Only we need to eat chocolate for a whole day and it is enough for animals to eat less than 500 grams.

A can of 20 kilos can suffer the consequences of cocoa with consuming a bar of 100 grams. Imagine then what can happen with smaller dog breeds, such as the pug or the poodle: with a piece of chocolate, nothing else is enough to poison it.

The dose of cocoa poisoning is 5 milligrams per kilo of weight. If you eat below that amount you will have the same symptoms as an indigestion, but if you exceed it, it can be fatal.

If you do not arrive in time to prevent chocolate from being eaten, then you should take it immediately to the veterinarian so that, if you consider it necessary, perform a detoxification treatment.

What happens to other pets?

We already know now that dogs cannot eat chocolate and why. But If you have other pets at home you should also be very careful, since even cocoa can be more dangerous than for a dog.

That's right, since for example cats are even more sensitive to theobromine. If we add to that the weight of the animal - in general, domestic cats weigh about four kilos - we can understand that a small piece of chocolate will be deadly for them. Something similar happens with other domesticated animals such as rabbits or ferrets.

You don't have to stop eating chocolate or do it secretly at home. If you have pets, you just have to be cautious and hide it very well to avoid being found and eaten. A good place to store it is on the top of the fridge or in the high cupboards of the kitchen.

When you are enjoying a piece of chocolate and your dog puts on that face that you know so much, make the effort not to share it with him. Do not forget that it can be deadly.