If you have a dog, you probably know that it is best for them to just eat their dog food and not be treated to human food. This can be a hard rule to follow, however, when your dog is looking at you sweetly while you are eating dinner. It can be tempting to share your meals with your dog from time to time, but there are some human foods that dogs should never have.
One of these foods is chocolate. This is a substance that is toxic to dogs, and even small amounts can be deadly to canines. There are many pet owners who have been told not to give their dogs chocolate, but they often do not know why this prohibition exists. Knowing why your dog should never be given chocolate can be important because there are serious medical concerns that are associated with your dog eating it. If you are ready to learn more about why dogs should never have chocolate, you need to keep reading.
Why Your Dog Can’t Eat Chocolate
There are various reasons why chocolate is bad for dogs, and you should be sure that you do not tempt fate by trying to give your dog chocolate just to see if they can eat it. No dog should ever eat chocolate, and you should never allow your pet access to any location in the home where you have chocolate that is stored for human enjoyment. Here are the reasons why your dog should never have chocolate:
1. It’s Toxic
The first and most obvious reason never to give your dog chocolate is that it is highly toxic for canines. While some people might argue it’s not that bad because their dog ate a small amount of chocolate one time and seemed to be fine, chocolate is something that you should never offer to any dog of any size. When dogs ingest a very small amount of chocolate without showing symptoms, this is usually due to the size of the dog in relation to the size of the piece of chocolate that was ingested. Chocolate in small amounts is less likely to cause a reaction in large dogs than in small dogs. However, even a small amount of chocolate given to a large dog with frequency can eventually lead to pancreatitis and other serious health conditions.
Dogs can and do regularly die from eating chocolate, and you should never give your dog even the smallest amount of this food substance.
2. It Contains Caffeine and Theobromine
The active substances that are in chocolate that make dogs sick are caffeine and theobromine. These substances are known to cause seizures, to lead to vomiting and diarrhea, and to cause organ failure in some animals. While these are not items that harm humans, dogs and cats cannot process these chemicals correctly, which leads to mounting toxicity that can lead to death.
Be sure that you do not give any food substance with these ingredients to your dog for any reason. Make sure as well that they cannot access these items on their own either. Many people’s pets pass away because their owners were not aware that they could get into the chocolate that was stored on a shelf in the pantry or on the counter.
3. Long-Term Damage to Health
Even if your dog survives chocolate toxicity, they will most likely continue to experience health concerns for the rest of their life. Many dogs that have been poisoned with chocolate will have liver and kidney issues for the rest of their life, or they might be at an increased risk for pancreatitis. The damage that is done by exposure to chocolate can have a lasting impact on your dog’s well-being for years into the future. Chocolate is one of the most toxic human foods that your dog can ingest, and the long-term effects on their health can be significant.
How to Keep Your Dog from Ingesting Chocolate
While for some dogs, it might be enough to just keep chocolate on a counter or a shelf in the pantry, you need to be sure that you do not underestimate your dog’s interest in the sweet and delicious smell of your chocolate. Dogs often climb onto things to gain access to the counter when they can smell chocolate, or they might manage to climb up to where chocolate is stored. Much like anti-freeze and other sweet-smelling substances that your dog should never eat or ingest, chocolate might smell delicious to your pet, which can make them seek it out with great attention.
It is always best to put your chocolate someplace they cannot access, like a cupboard that is too high for your dog to reach, or to put it in a sealed container that your dog cannot open even if they knock it down. Make sure that kids in the home do not have chocolate stashed in their room or under the bed where the dog can access it as well. Removing temptation is always the best course of action so that your dog cannot sniff out what they think will be a yummy treat.
Chocolate Should Never be Fed to Dogs
Your dog should never ingest any chocolate, even small amounts. If your dog does eat some chocolate that you have dropped on the floor, you will need to call your veterinarian right away to see if they want to see your pet before they start to show symptoms. Chocolate can kill a dog within an hour, so you do not want to waste time waiting to see if they start to get sick after eating it.
If you are not sure if your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate or not, it is always wise to err on the side of caution and to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Being safe rather than sorry is a good rule of thumb when dealing with chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.