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Valentines and Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is a day for hugs and kisses, love and chocolate. We know you love your pet so give them all of that except the last one. CHOCOLATE is a no-no. Yes even that tiny little piece you think of giving them when they look at you with those lovey eyes. BEFORE YOU DO, READ THIS. Chocolate is derived from the roasted cacao nut and contains an alkaloid called theobromine.  Theobromine is in the same family as caffeine and is a type of stimulant (they both are mythylxanines).  Theobromine stimulates the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and causes a slightly increased blood pressure. Dogs and certain other animals, such as horses and cats, cannot metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans can; this causes the effects to be much more severe than is the case with humans.   The side effects with toxic levels of theobromine in dogs includes: diarrhea, vomiting, increased urination, muscle twitching, excessive panting, hyperactive behavior, whining, dehydration, digestive problems, seizures, and rapid heart rate.  Some of these symptoms, like the rapid heart rate, can ultimately be fatal to the dog. So how much chocolate is too much for a dog?  That depends on the size and age of the dog, as well as what type of chocolate was consumed.  The larger the dog, the more theobromine they can handle without dying.  Older dogs tend to have more problems with the side effects. The approximate amounts of theobromine per ounce of chocolate are as follows: Cocoa powder: 800 mg/oz Baker’s chocolate (unsweetened): 450 mg/oz Dark chocolate: 150 mg/oz Milk chocolate: 50 mg/oz The general rules for the amount...