Today is National Chocolate Chip Day, and as much as you would like to share that yummy Chocolate Chip cookie with your 4-legged best friend, please don’t! Chocolate is toxic to dogs and consumption can result in vomiting and diarrhea at the very least. At it’s worse, chocolate can be deadly.
The “culprit” is the ingredient, theobromine. Theobromine has properties similar to caffeine, which is yet another ingredient in chocolate that should not be consumed by dogs. Whereas we quickly metabolize and secrete theobromine, it may stay in a dog’s system up to 24 hours. The potent combo of theobromine and caffeine can cause increased heart rate, seizures, increased body temperatures, rapid breathing, and even seizures for your dog.
There is more theobromine in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate. If your 80 pound lab eats a milk chocolate Hershey’s kiss, he may have only a mild reaction. But if he consumes a square of dark baking chocolate, which is very high in theobromine, his reaction could be acute and emergency treatment may be necessary.
Some dog bakeries use “carob” in lieu of chocolate to offer chocolate-like treats to their patrons. Chocolate and carob are not related, but carob does have a surprisingly similar taste. Carob is nontoxic and hypoallergenic. It can be powdered like cocoa, made into “chocolate” chips, or melted for dipping a dog bone into! Another good thing is that it is naturally sweet, so you will not be adding unhealtlhy sugar to your dog’s treat!
If you think your dog may have ingested chocolate, immediately call your vet or the Pet Poison Help Line* at 855-213-6680.
The Pet Poison Help Line is animal poison control service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, visit petpoisonhelpline.com.