As Halloween is approaching, it is time to talk about the holidays and what they can mean for your pet. There can be many safe and fun ways for you and your pet to enjoy the holidays together, but there are also some accidents that can be detrimental to your pet's health. One accident that can happen is your dog getting into chocolate, a prevalent occurrence at this time of year. This article will discuss what chocolate does to your dog, what you should do in case of an emergency where your dog ate chocolate, and how you can prevent this from happening in the future.
Chocolate is very toxic to dogs even in low doses, and just a small amount could spell trouble for your pet. Chocolate contains two dangerous compounds, theobromine and caffeine, both of which are harmful to your pet. Theobromine is the main compound found in chocolates. The reason it is toxic to dogs is that they process it much slower than humans do, making it much easier for dogs to build up theobromine to toxic levels. At small levels, it can give your dog an upset stomach or diarrhea. At higher levels, it may cause cardiac issues or seizures. These issues can be fatal if not treated immediately. The issue becomes more severe for smaller dogs than larger dogs.
In case of an emergency where your dog has consumed chocolate, it is important to take your dog to a vet as soon as possible. Treatment involves inducing vomiting and monitoring for other symptoms that need to be treated, in the case of cardiac issues or seizures. The emergency veterinary hospital is usually the best case for this situation, as quick and efficient treatment is needed to reduce any chance of serious symptoms occurring. Activated charcoal may also be used to help cleanse the system of any toxic effects. In the case of you not being able to reach a vet hospital, 1-3 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide per 10 pounds of dog will induce vomiting. It is extremely important that you see a vet regardless of whether your dog seems fine afterwards or not. The theobromine that was absorbed into your pet's system before vomiting can still be enough to cause some unwanted side effects, and that would need to be treated sooner rather than later.
Prevention is the best method of protection for your dog against theobromine poisoning. Keep chocolate away from your pet's reach, and make sure that you are able to monitor any containers of chocolate if your pet is nearby. It can be difficult to train dogs to avoid eating foods they shouldn't, especially when they see that you enjoy eating it, and so keeping it out of reach is the most effective method of prevention. Alternative treats to give them as you eat chocolate may also help curb their desire to eat that Snickers bar, and occupying them with a playful activity or training can also be used to distract them from eating unwanted foods such as chocolate.
We can all safely enjoy the holidays together this year, and our pets can enjoy it too. It is an exciting but stressful time for our pets, and as pet owners we should ensure our pet has the safest and most comfortable home available so they can relax. Chocolate, while a delicious treat for us, is not a good treat for dogs, whether they know it or not.
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