Are you a chocoholic? It’s OK to admit it! Who doesn’t just love the taste of chocolate? Chocolate is one of those perfect treats. Unfortunately, dogs also love this wonderful treat. It’s not unfortunate because you have to share it with them. It’s because chocolate is toxic to dogs. Too much of this yummy stuff can make them very sick.
Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs
Even something as small as a Hershey’s Kiss is enough to make a dog sick. Well, one Kiss may not make a dog sick (depend on the size of the dog). But if your fur baby has eaten several of these sweet treats, he could become very sick.
Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is what makes dogs sick. Theobromine acts like a diuretic, heart stimulant, and even works to dilate blood vessels, as well as relax smooth muscles. This substance has the same effect on both dogs and humans.
However, while humans can break down theobromine quickly, dogs break down the substance much slower. In fact, it can take up to 18 hours for a dog to process theobromine. In dogs, theobromine can cause heart problems, respiratory failure, and more.
Different Types of Chocolate are More Toxic
To make matters confusing when it comes to toxicity, some types of chocolate are more toxic to dogs than others. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is for our canine companions. Milk chocolate is the least toxic.
Here are some figures to give you an idea:
- Milk chocolate is toxic at 0.7 oz (1.98 grams) per pound of body weight
- Semi-sweet chocolate is toxic at 0.3 oz (0.85 grams) per pound of body weight
- Dark chocolate is toxic at 0.1 oz (0.28 grams) per pound of body weight
When it comes to Hershey’s Kisses (the Milk Chocolate type):
- 9 pieces weigh 41 grams
- Theobromine: 61 mg
So, if your fur baby has eaten several Hershey’s Kisses, you’ll need to call the vet right away. Be sure to note the type of chocolate in the Kisses, as well as about how many your dog’s eaten. This information will help the vet.
Treatment of Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs
The vet will run some blood test and a urinalysis and may even perform an EKG to monitor your dog’s heart function. After this, the vet may induce vomiting, use activated charcoal and other therapies that help your dog’s body to get rid of the toxin. Your fur baby may also need to be treated for heart issues and other symptoms such as tremors if these are present. He may also need to stay in the hospital for a few days to make sure he’s OK.
The prognosis is pretty good if a dog receives fast medical treatment for chocolate toxicity. And if your dog has a penchant for chocolate, be sure to keep it out of his reach in the future.