47395
47185
Dr-Oz-s-Vet-Advice

Don't be sweet to your dog

Christmas holiday is upon us. In the season of giving, chocolate is a popular gift.

As a chocolate lover, I know how a chocolate can raise your spirit. As well as most people, dogs tend to have a “sweet tooth” too, but for our canine friends, chocolate in large amount is harmful, even fatal. 

Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which contain a toxic substance called theobromine.

Cacao beans also contain caffeine, but in much smaller amounts than theobromine. Both theobromine and caffeine are members of a drug class called methylxanines.

Theobromine is toxic for dogs because they process it much more slowly than humans. Seventeen hours after eating chocolate, half of the theobromine is still in the dog’s system.

Theobromine is also toxic to cats, however, cats are less likely to ingest chocolate than dogs. 

Theobromine and caffeine can adversely affect the nervous system, and the heart. They can also lead to increase of the blood pressure.

The early signs of chocolate intoxication are nausea (manifested by drooling and smacking the lips) vomiting, and excessive urination.

Truly toxic amounts can induce hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, tremors, seizures and eventually respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.

The more theobromine a cocoa product contains, the more poisonous it is to your dog. 

Researches showed that one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal.

Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are riskiest, milk and white chocolate pose a much less serious risk.

Twenty ounces of milk chocolate, 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, and just 2.25 ounces of baking chocolate could potentially kill a 22-pound dog. 

Small dogs are at greater risk of chocolate toxicity than large dogs because they can be poisoned by small quantities of chocolate.

In most instances, diagnosis is based upon physical exam findings in combination with a history of access to chocolate. There is no definitive test for chocolate ingestion.

Unfortunately, theobromine has no antidote. The treatment for chocolate toxicity is primarily supportive.

Treatment focuses on addressing symptoms and problems that develop until the toxins are excreted by the body.

In most cases, intoxication resolves within 24-36 hours.

If the dog was presented shortly after the ingestion, attempts to reduce the poison absorption can be made by inducing vomiting or feeding active charcoal. Intravenous fluids and anti seizure medication are also frequently required.

Symptoms of intoxication usually occur four to 24 hours after ingestion.
 
Prevention is the key. Keep all chocolate goodies in a non-accessible place for your pet. Don’t share any chocolate with your pet on any circumstances; not even on its birthday.

If you suspect that your dog got exposed to chocolate, contact your veterinarian.

The dog’s weight, the type and amount of the chocolate ingested are all important information for the vet, in order to assess the dog’s risk and condition.

The holiday season is a wonderful time for families to spend time together and connect.

Paying attention to your gluttonous pet’s eating is a one sure way of keeping you joyful and away from the vet’s office.  



More Dr. Oz's Vet Advice articles

39549
About the Author

Dr. Moshe Oz owns Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, a small animal veterinary practice in West Kelowna.

Dr. Oz has deep love and affection for animals. It was his childhood dream to become a veterinarian, a dream that he has fulfilled when he graduated with honours from KUVM,on 2006. Dr. Oz's special interest is internal medicine and surgery.

In his free time Dr. Oz enjoys training and racing triathlons, including the legendary Penticton's Ironman.

Dr. Oz can be contacted through his website: www.KelownaVet.ca



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories



47397


47048