Like most dog owners, do you love spoiling your cockapoo with lots of special snacks and treats? While it’s true there are plenty of delicious and healthy snacks for dogs, there is nothing your canine buddy enjoys more than sharing a bit of what you’ve got.
If that snack is a little bit of toast with jam or the end of a cheese and ham sarnie, then fine. Before you start giving them some of your chocolate, though, you may want to think again. As you’ve probably heard, chocolate is bad for chocolate.
Have you ever wondered why? Other than knowing that chocolate is bad and that if your dog eats too much it can be deadly, it’s surprising how many people don’t actually know why. In the following post, we aim to set the record straight.
Why is Chocolate so Bad for Dogs?
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Basically, chocolate contains a chemical compound known as theobromine that metabolises and is transformed into another chemical xanthine when it reaches a dog’s liver. This is bad because xanthine disrupts the vital phosphodiesterase inhibitors (a class of special cell enzymes) in the liver.
When this happens, it increases activity within your dog’s central nervous system and increases your dog’s heart rate.
It is if these conditions and symptoms are left unchecked and untreated, it can be deadly to your dog.
Symptoms to Look Out for If Your Dog Eats Chocolate
There are some symptoms you need to look out for whether your dog definitely has eaten some chocolate, or you suspect they have. These symptoms include:
- Restlessness (more so than usual)
All of these symptoms are actually a good sign. It’s your dog’s built-in safety mechanism that helps him or her to try and get rid of the poison. Symptoms and effects you should be particularly concerned about, though, are an increased heart rate, tremors or your dog starts having seizures.
Do You Need to Go to the Vet?
If you’re like me you’ll want to do the best for your dog without making too much of a fuss about anything. That’s why before you start phoning or just driving down to the vets, you should try and figure out how much chocolate your dog has actually eaten. Different kinds of chocolates have different levels of toxicity. Cocoa powder is considered to be the worst ingredient, with cooking chocolate closely next, closely followed by chocolate that’s semi-sweet and then dark chocolate.
You also need to think about the size of your dog in comparison to how much chocolate you think they’ve eaten. Was it a large bar of milk chocolate that’s completely gone or one singular piece? If it’s more the former than the latter, it may be time to at least give the vet a call, whereas if it’s the latter, you may want to just monitor them. There is no harm in giving your vet a phone call just to be on the safe side.
If you’ve discovered your dog has eaten chocolate, there are a few things you can do to help them.
- Make sure he or she stays hydrated – as both of the steps above will dehydrate them, you should make sure water is always available for your dog. Encourage your cockapoo to drink as much as he can, because the more drink your cockapoo drinks, the quicker they are likely to get rid of the poison from their body.
- Make Your Dog Vomit – Okay, so it sounds a bit gross but what would you rather happens, your dog gets very poorly and possibly dies or you have to clean up some vomit? Although it’s best to discuss this with your vet, it should be safe enough to use the 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, rather than the 6% concentrated solution and mix it into your dog’s food at a ratio of 1ml of Hydrogen Peroxide for every pound of their body weight.
- Use Activated Charcoal – You should only consider giving your dog activated charcoal if the vet suggests it and if you know for a certainty that your dog did eat chocolate and does not have any serious symptoms. The charcoal will only work if it comes into contact with your dog’s contaminant.
While it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be life-threatening for a dog, you now understand why it’s dangerous for your cockapoo to eat chocolate and what may happen to him or her.