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Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

The question, is chocolate bad for dogs, has been asked by several dog owners. When they (the owners) are eating chocolates, they simply cannot resist their pets puppy dog look, begging them to give them a piece. Many give in to their demand. But don't. If you love your dog, then you have to be firm, because, yes, chocolates are bad for your dog! Want to know more about it? Then read on..
Humans love chocolates. And you know who else cannot resist chocolates? Man's best friend, dogs. Give them a piece of it and they will gobble it up within a matter of few seconds. When you are eating a piece of this delicious thing in front of them, they will sit in front of you, looking first at the chocolate and then at you, their eyes begging silently to give them a piece. You, a dog lover, cannot resist the look and end up giving them a piece. But you know what? Giving them even a small piece of chocolate, is the same as giving them poison. You might ask, is chocolate bad for dogs? The answer is yes! Chocolate is like poison for them, a poison which might kill them. Want to know why? Here's why.

Chocolate = Poison?

There have been many incidents in which dogs have lost their lives because their owners have given them chocolates. It was not done on purpose. Many people still do not know about this. Some people, even if they have heard about it, they do not know the reason as to why chocolate can be bad. That is why, thinking that the whole thing is just a myth, they do not follow it. But, this article will tell you that the whole thing is not a myth. It is a fact that chocolates kill dogs. Why? This is because chocolate consists of a substance called 'theobromine'. This is a central nervous system stimulant which is present in cocoa beans and which causes seizures and various other heart problems. If your dog accidentally eats even a small piece of chocolate, then the theobromine starts reacting in the body. The dogs might suffer from various health problems such as diarrhea, or vomiting. They might also urinate a lot, or become very restless. Their heart beats might also increase and they will always feel thirsty. Dogs also develop worms in the body and they start losing their fur. Their digestive system also goes from bad to worse. All these various side effects might kill your dog.

How Much To Give

If you now ask how much chocolate you should give to your dogs, then that will be a bit difficult to answer as the amount usually depends on the age and size of the dog. But still if a 50 pound dog eats around one piece of milk chocolate, maybe nothing will happen. But give the same dog a whole chunk, then they are bound to get sick. Remember that not all chocolates will have the same effect on the dog. White chocolates have the least amount of theobromine in it. Milk chocolates 1 ounce per body weight is good enough for your dog. Sweet cocoa 0.3 ounces of your dog's body weight, will do and baking chocolate, 0.1 ounce of your dog's body weight, is more than enough. Remember this, then your dog can eat the chocolate and at the same time, he won't fall sick. But it is best that you do not give them any chocolates to be on the safe side.

Treatments

Now if, accidentally, your dog does take in some excess chocolate, then what are you supposed to do? The thing is, unlike other poisons, chocolate poisoning in dogs still does not have an antidote. The only thing that you can do is force your dog to vomit out the entire theobromine. Activated charcoal will help the dog by absorbing the harmful poison. If the dog shows symptoms of diarrhea, then keep giving them enough liquids as diarrhea causes dehydration. The best thing is to take the dog to the vet as soon as possible. They will know what to do. Let the veterinarian know what kind of chocolate your dog has eaten so that they will know what kind of treatment is needed.

Being a dog lover myself, I know that once you look into those innocent eyes, you cannot resist giving them, the dogs, whatever they want. But, if you love them, then for their own good, you have to be firm. You might think that a small piece is no big deal. But better safe than sorry.
By Ratnashri Dutta
Published: 8/3/2010
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