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Can dogs eat chocolate?

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No, dogs should not eat chocolate as it contains a chemical called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs. Darker, purer varieties of chocolate tend to have the highest levels but it’s also found in milk chocolate.

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‘Is chocolate bad for dogs’ is a common question but the bottom line is dogs and chocolate don’t mix.

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which human beings can metabolise naturally, but dogs can’t. Due to this, ingesting any foodstuff containing it leads to a build-up of theobromine, which can become toxic.

Some chocolate contains higher levels than others: for example, dark, bitter chocolate has a higher theobromine content than milk chocolate.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine the exact amount of chocolate that a dog has to consume to become at risk of serious illness, as every animal’s metabolic rate is different

What to do if your dog eats chocolate

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If your pet has stolen the Easter egg stash, you might not even realise what has happened until they start exhibiting symptoms. Contact a vet as soon as possible, with as much information as you have about your dog and the chocolate they have eaten.

Investigating the wrappers that might have been left behind can be a useful way of determining just how much of the good stuff your pet has got their paws on! Knowing a rough estimate of the size and weight of your dog will also help a vet to determine the kind of danger they might be in from the amount of theobromine they have ingested.

If you see a vet soon after your dog has eaten chocolate, they may induce vomiting to try and rid the toxic ingredient from their system before it has time to build up. Never induce vomiting on your own at home, without the express advice of a professional vet.

If your dog begins to exhibit any of the symptoms listed above, your vet will begin a series of reactive treatments, which may include IV fluids and antiarrhythmic drugs, if your dog of showing signs of seizures.

If you notice your dog eating chocolate, the best thing you can do for them is to contact a vet as soon as possible. Inducing vomiting early on will give your pet the best chance of avoiding long-term, serious or fatal complications, so the earlier they can be seen by a vet the better.

Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

Chocolate contains several ingredients that are bad for dogs, including fat, sugar and caffeine. But the most toxic ingredient is theobromine, which is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant.

Dogs aren’t able to break down, or metabolise, theobromine like humans can and it mainly affects their guts, heart, central nervous system and kidneys.

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