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Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

Keep your leftover Valentine's treats away from Fido

ATLANTA — Now that Valentine’s Day is behind us, it’s important to keep that leftover chocolate away from man’s best friend.

Chocolate can make a dog deathly ill. Many pet owners know this, but it’s important to know why.

It’s actually not good for any pet to ingest chocolate, but dog owners need to be particularly careful.

“Dogs have a certain tendency to overindulge and eat large amounts of chocolate at a single time, thus increasing the possibility of toxicity,” says Dr. Benjamin Brainard, Director of Clinical Research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine. You know what caffeine does to your body. Theobromine is very similar. Too much of these compounds can cause a caffeine overdose, elevating your dog’s heart rate to dangerous levels.

Depending on how much chocolate your dog eats, the reaction can be anything from hyperactivity to seizures to death.

“Large ingestions of these compounds can be life-threatening and require hospitalization,” says Dr. Brainard. “This is all if the ingested chocolate cannot be cleared by inducing vomiting.”

Chocolate tends to be high in fat which can cause inflammation in your dog’s pancreas.

“Pancreatitis can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases can even result in critical illness and death,” says Dr. Brainard.

Baking chocolate that you use to make brownies or cake is the worst for your animal. Dark chocolate is next, then milk chocolate.

Again, chocolate isn’t good for any domestic animal, but while cats nibble, dogs gobble.

“The toxic levels of caffeine in cats are similar to those in dogs, but cats tend to be a bit more discriminatory,” says Dr. Brainard.

If your leftover box of chocolate is empty and you didn’t eat it, induce vomiting if you can and get your pooch to the vet pronto.


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