A hastily given treat can turn into a real health hazard for a dog if a uniformed dog owner feeds his animal chocolate! Chocolate contains a certain substance called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs at a certain dose. In addition, considering the high number of calories, chocolate is not an ideal treat for dogs!

Why is theobromine toxic to dogs?

The theobromine contained in the cocoa bean is a special purine alkaloid that has toxic effects in the body of dogs. The theobromine enters the blood through the animal’s intestines and is transported via the bloodstream to the dog’s liver. There the theobromine starts various metabolic processes that inhibit the so-called adenosine receptors and also the phosphodiesterase, which in turn causes the two stress hormones norepinephrine and adrenaline to be released at high levels. This can create a life-threatening situation for a dog, as these two stress hormones increase blood pressure and constrict the animals’ blood vessels. In addition, it is not uncommon for the dog’s body to suffer from hypofunction of the nerves in such a situation.

How does theobromine poisoning manifest itself?

Due to the increase in blood pressure, the pulse of a poisoned dog has a very high frequency, which is often signaled by restlessness and tremors. In the worst case scenario, a dog that has eaten large amounts of chocolate may experience seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, diarrhea and vomiting, which in turn results in a large loss of fluids. The first signs of chocolate poisoning usually appear after about two to four hours and the intensity of the symptoms depends on the amount of chocolate eaten and also on the general constitution of the animal. Some dogs can tolerate small amounts without any problems, but in some animals even a small piece of chocolate can cause poisoning.

What to do if you have chocolate poisoning?

If a dog has eaten large amounts of chocolate that he either stole or was accidentally given to him, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately and under no circumstances should he wait until the first symptoms of poisoning appear. The quicker the poisoned dog is treated, the easier it is to avoid consequential damage! In the case of chocolate poisoning, the vet usually gives an emetic so that the chocolate is vomited up. The veterinarians also use activated charcoal, which binds the theobromine found in the body. By the way, the toxicity of chocolate applies not only to dogs, but also to cats!

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