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Valentines and Chocolate

16401591-valentine-dog-with-red-rose-and-red-big-heartValentine’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 of chocolate that will be toxic for a dog:

  • Milk chocolate: one ounce per pound of body weight (so, without intervention, a 16 pound dog (7.2 kg) would likely die from eating one pound of milk chocolate)
  • Dark chocolate: 1/3 of an ounce per pound of body weight (around 5 ounces of dark chocolate for that same 16 pound dog)
  • Baker’s chocolate: 1/9 of an ounce per pound of body weight (around 1.8 ounces of baker’s chocolate for a 16 pound dog)
  • Cocoa powder: 1/16 of an ounce per pound of dog (around 1 ounce of cocoa powder to kill a 16 pound dog)

 If you suspect your dog ate some chocolate, typically the dog will vomit on it’s own. If not, your vet might want you to give him hydrogen peroxide to make him vomit. The dose is 1 TBSP for every 20 pounds. You can use a turkey baster or a medicine dropper to give the liquid. You can only administer this TWICE if the first time didn’t result in vomiting. Once your dog vomits, don’t give him any food or water. Most importantly, don’t wait for the warning signs as they can take 6-12 hours to show up. Take your dog to the vet to be seen. The most common way to treat chocolate poisoning is to use fluids and IV drugs.

So give your pets lots of hugs, kisses and love BUT No CHOCOLATE PLEASE.

Reasons your pet makes a better valentine:

  • YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHARE YOUR CHOCOLATE (SINCE IT’S POISON TO THEM )
  • THE ARE FAITHFUL AND OBEY
  • THEY GIVE THE BEST KISSES AND HUGS
  • THEY DON’T CARE IF YOU HAVE A GIFT FOR THEM OR NOT.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

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