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Is chocolate bad for your dog?

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The fact that a dog can die after eating even a small piece of chocolate is an infamous myth that people do not often think about. Let's find out the truth behind it.

Who would ever feed chocolate to a dog? Well, somebody would. Sometimes children decide to treat a pet because it is their best friend. Sometimes adults can sin, because, at first glance, cheering a pet with something tasty seems not a bad thing.

You should remember that usual and useful food for us can poison dogs, causing serious effects or even death. Chocolate is such a product. But what's so dangerous about harmless chocolate? The name of our culprit is theobromine.

Theobromine, also known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid, a methylxanthine psychostimulant of the cacao plant. Theobromine is used in medicine to treat bronchopulmonary diseases. In everyday life you can find it in toothpastes as a remineralizing element for tooth enamel with subsequent resistance to caries.

Quite useful, isn’t it? But are there any cons? Well, yes: it can be poisoning. Fortunately, the amount of theobromine in chocolate is too small to do it. For body intoxication its concentration must reach at least 1000 milligrams per kilogram of a human body weight. For example, 100 grams of milk chocolate contains only 150 to 220 milligrams of theobromine. To get poisoned, a person needs to eat milk chocolate at just about half their body weight.

The dogs have slower metabolism of theobromine than humans have (approximately 20 hours), and the median lethal dose is 300 milligrams per kilo. While in the body, theobromine blocks the stimulation of adenosine receptors — the ones that make you feel tired and reduce your body activity. The dog begins to show signs of anxiety and hyperactivity. Possibly heavy breathing and muscle twitching. Seizures and cardiac arrhythmias lead to dogs' death from large chocolate doses. By the way, cats (especially kittens) are even more sensitive to theobromine — the average lethal dose is 200 milligrams per kilo.

The lower the amount of cocoa products in chocolate, the less theobromine it contains, yep. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for the dog. A small piece won’t harm the dog, but it can be addictive, so the pet would certainly eat much more chocolate at any opportunity.

The main symptoms of chocolate poisoning are pet over-activity and anxiety, cardiopalmus, vomiting and diarrhea. Of course, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.

Caffeine — the other similar to theobromine alkaloid — can also be found in chocolate, but less. Caffeine will simply cause the dog to get a little nervous and increase it’s heart rate. The simple sugar can also be harmful to the dogs, remember it.

If you want to please your dog after successful training or without any reasons, there are many different «dog chocolates» you can find on sale in local pet shops. Sugar there is replaced with sweet stevia herb extract and cocoa is replaced with a carob powder. The taste is similar, but your pet will definitely show you some love in return for amino acids, vitamins, macro- and microelements.

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