Monday, November 22, 2010

M & Ms, Let them melt in your mouth, not your dog's

We've all heard it, "Don't give your dog chocolate. It will kill him". Well, how true is it you're probably wondering. Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

Chocolate contains theobromine. A naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, theobromine increases urination and affects the central nervous system, as well as, heart muscle. While amounts vary by type of chocolate, it’s the theobromine that is poisonous to dogs. The good news is that it takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine, 100-150 mg/kg, to cause a toxic reaction. On average,Milk chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per oz. Semisweet chocolate contains 150mg/oz. Baker's chocolate 390mg/oz.

Symptoms of Chocolate Dog Ingestion and Poisoning
You can recognize that your dog has eaten a toxic dose of chocolate from the symptoms. Within the first few hours, the evidence includes:
* vomiting
* diarrhea
* increased urination
* excessive panting
* hyperactivity

These symptoms can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death. If these symptoms occur, do NOT wait to see if your pet will be okay. After two hours of eating the chocolate, all of it has passed out of the stomach into the intestines for complete absorption into the body. Call your veterinarian for recommendations. Most will recommend you bring the pet in so vomiting can be made to happen and supportive care can be given as well as monitoting of the pet for signs of toxicity and symptomatic treatment if needed.

Your dog may have to be hospitalized for awhile if symptomatic. Times in the hospital vary depending on the dosage ingested and signs. It takes about 7 1/2 hours for half of the theobromine to be removed from the body and another 7 1/2 hours for half of what is left to be removed and so on. Please, also, note that cats are much more sensitive to all toxins and these toxic doses are only valid for dogs. If your cat is like mine and eats any chocolate consult your veterinarian.

As always, prevention is the easiest and best safety measure. Enjoy your M & M's, but keep them away from your pets.

6 pack of dogs is brought to you by the pet lovers at:

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